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Why is a lot of software proprietary?

From: mike3
Subject: Why is a lot of software proprietary?
Date: Sat, 29 Dec 2007 21:03:13 -0800 (PST)
User-agent: G2/1.0

That's the rub. Why is so much proprietary, why isn't there as much
Free software as there is proprietary? Hmm...

1. Consider, for example, not releasing the source code. A person is
free to modify their car. They can go and take out something and put
something else in. If they have the required expertise and equipment
they might even be able to fabricate their own parts and things and do
all sorts of crazy mods like turning an old jeep into a giant monster
truck or something. What is the problem with doing that with software?
If you make the code available, you are simply letting the person do
to the software what they are able to do to their car. It seems then,
that the reason the companies withhold the code is that they like
restricting what you can do with your computer, perhaps so they can
enjoy the power it gives them.

2. Now, we consider the distribution of the software to help one's
neighbor. If the license prohibits it, and the person really
desperately wants to help their neighbor, they may choose to break the
license. Although one could argue this is not "good" since they broke
the law, that is not the point. The company did not get it's money for
that copy that was given to help the neighbor. If the license was
designed to allow this action, the company would still not get it's
money. Since it would be very difficult to catch all of these "casual
copyings" -- ie. neighbor-helping, like this, the company really can't
squeeze that extra profit they would have gotten anyway. So why not go
to the license that permits it? It seems they must be *extremely*
greedy, desperate for that last bit of profit even if it's not much,
_and_ the ability to intimidate with threats of legal action.

3. Next, we consider restrictions on how you can _use_ the software.
Now that's just plain control, that's obviously just wanting to have
power over your computer. You should be able to do with it what you
want, and not have someone controlling it for you.

So, what do you think?

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