dburrows/ blog/ entry/ from-blogspot/ Arguments that are difficult to refute.

I was recently discussing the merits of free vs not-free software with one of my coworkers, when he pointed out that my position was self-defeating, since without non-free software programmers like us would be unemployed and broke in Greenland. Well, he didn't add "in Greenland", but it did a pretty good job of shutting me up anyway.

Comment by Hal Eisen at 11:38 AM:

Your colleague is mistaken. Something like 90% of all software developed is for purely internal consumption - ie, not shrinkwrapped for sale. All of that software must be paid for by corporations with the money going to the developers who in turn use and code Free Software. Then there are the Open Source companies (Red Hat, Novell, IBM) who employ a significant number of developers. Add to that the academics who use and code Free Software for their research. Further, there are plenty of Free Software developers who do something else for their day job (doctor, lawyer, tinkerer, sailing instructor).

Comment by Anonymous at 11:53 AM:

ESR and the Open Source Initiative expand on this here:


// Ulf Härnhammar, Debian Security Audit Project

Comment by Chris Ball at 2:12 PM:

This objection has been used since the writing of the GNU Manifesto, which is more than two decades old; it is sad that GNU's arguments haven't penetrated the open source community, let alone the minds of people like your coworker. :)

See the "Won't programmers starve?" section of http://www.gnu.org/gnu/manifesto.html.