Re: [bytesforall_readers] [Fwd: Re: Free and Open Source Software: A Blind Alley for Developing
- I reread Heeks' article as posted here. The article uses the word
"free" just once, outside of the combimation "FOSS". That one use
refers to price, not freedom. This shows that the writer either does
not understand what free software is all about, or has chosen to
ignore it. Neither possibility commands much respect.
The purport of the article is just a prediction that GNU/Linux will be
a failure in the future because it is not very popular so far. The
problem with this is not that the answer is wrong, but that the
question is wrong. It is that he has chosen the wrong question to
answer. His question is whether freedom-respecting software _will_
succeed. The important question is why freedom is worth fighting for.
Forecasting the future of technology is error-prone at best. When a
scholar shows an absurd level of confidence in such a forecast, that
in itself is grounds for suspicion. Combined with the article's
general tone of contempt for FOSS, it add up to a clear case of PIPO:
prejudice in, prejudice out.
This does not prove the author was in Microsoft's pay. That may or
may not be the case. But there are plenty of grounds for suspicion,
which is why I suggest investigating the question to find out the
We know that several others have been paid by Microsoft to write such
reports. To suggest that it might be the case here is hardly a "witch
hunt". One gets the feeling you're trying to deny the pattern we have
> This is still a free world where people should be able to say whatI agree. I do not believe we should conclude "automatically" that
> they say without being put automatically into the "bad boys" box.
Heeks is in Microsoft's pay. I suggested that people investigate and
find out whether he is or not. Therefore, aren't you attacking a
> To make at easy, yes, my organization Chasquinet Foundation works > with Microsoft and yes it is the same organization thatI don't know what you do with Microsoft, but I suppose it involves
> produced and published the Open Source tollbox for Telecenters
> in Latin America http://tele-centros.org/tc-toolkit2.0/ and
> yes we have as a policy in our organization that people
> should have a right to choose.
promoting or using proprietary software. I don't know what's in your
toolbox, but let's assume it is free software and a worthy
contribution to the free world. However, by referring to it as "open
source" rather than "free", you choose not to consider this a matter
of freedom. So what is the situation?
We can conclude that you will work with either proprietary software or
freedom-respecting software--because you do not regard the users'
freedom as a significant value.
> What counts for us here at the grassroots are real ICTApparently your idea of "improving peoples lives" is measured in a way
> tools for Development, be they open source or otherwise,
> what counts is if they make a real positive impact
> in improving peoples lives.
that does not value their freedom. That is a shallow way to judge.
> CHASQUINET, TECHNOLOGY NEUTRAL AND PROUD OF IT !The choice between free (freedom-respecting) and proprietary
(user-subjugating) software is not a technical choice. It is an
ethical and political issue about people's freedom.
To be neutral on issues that merely concern technology is fine.
To be neutral on ethical and political issues about freedom
is nothing to be proud of.