Open Source Myths: Freedom

Today's open-source myth: Open-source software gives you freedom

Some does, some does not. Most people usually look at the software from the user's point of view. Typical users of open source software were computer geeks in last years. This kind of people usually does not have any problem writing complex configuration files, browsing mailing lists and even reading the source code in order to make the software work. But these are not typical computer users. In fact, there may be less than 5% of such users on the Internet today (how I've got that data?). Then let's look at the open-source software from the point of view of not-entirelly-informed user's majority.

Let's review the freedom that a normal user has:

It looks like there is not much extra freedom for open-source software users when compared to commercial software users.

On the other hand, there would be no open-source software if there are no open-source developers. For the open-source software to exist it is very important to keep the attention of developers. So how the "open-source freedom" looks from the point of view of developers?

It looks like the situation is a bit better for developers - as far as they do not use GNU GPL licensed code. GNU GPL is something that I call "Open-source Terrorism". If you use single GPL-licensed component, your entire code is infected by GPL and you are practically forced to share the code. Our contry went over 40 years of communit rule. And I can tell you first-hand that forcing everyone to share everything with everyone else in not a freedom.

To conclude, it looks like there is no additional freedom for users when they use open-source code. It is much better for developers, as far as they do not use GPL-licensed code. But, beware. The sole statement that the software is open-source and that you do not need to pay to get it does not mean that it is free. There is no such thing as a free lunch.