[clug] Article in The Register on Open Source

steve jenkin sjenkin at canb.auug.org.au
Sat Oct 22 07:49:07 UTC 2022

This guy puts arguments I’d not heard before.

Not a full extract, goes on to make many points.


You thought you bought software – all you bought was a lie
	Liam Proven
	Isn't code something worth paying for? 
	Well, frankly, no

So what is this big lie?
The reason that it's not better to buy software is simple, but it's a lie.
A lie at the heart of the entire computer industry, but nonetheless a lie that's very hard to see 
	– "for the same reason that people in Trafalgar Square can't see England," to quote a good book.

It isn't better to buy commercial software because you can't buy software.

It is not possible for you to own paid-for, commercial software. 
You can't buy it. 
You probably think that you have bought lots, but you haven't. 
All you really bought is a lie.

All you can buy is licenses. 
Serial numbers or activation keys or maybe even hardware dongles. 
Strange abstract entities that only really exist in lawyers' minds, which claim to permit you to use someone else's software.

And they aren't worth the paper that they're no longer printed upon.

You don't own the software. 
You have no rights over it. 
The vendors don't even claim it works and, indeed, explicitly state that it might not and if it doesn't it's not their fault and they don't, and won't, promise to fix it.

Commercial software is as much about quality and features as it is about locking customers in, so that it's too hard, or too expensive, for them to move.

The lies so far:

	• You can't buy software – because you can't own commercial software at all.
	• The commercial stuff isn't guaranteed to be better anyway, or even to work at all.
	• The free stuff isn't guaranteed either, meaning that in terms of measurable quality, they are equivalent.
	• Even if you can get the source code, mostly, that doesn't mean you can customize it, or check it, or learn much from it.

Steve Jenkin, IT Systems and Design 
0412 786 915 (+61 412 786 915)
PO Box 38, Kippax ACT 2615, AUSTRALIA

mailto:sjenkin at canb.auug.org.au http://members.tip.net.au/~sjenkin

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