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Re: Need for launchpad

Andrew Suffield <asuffield@debian.org> writes:

> Can anybody actually think of a reason why they might want to keep any
> of this code proprietary, other than grabbing power? I can't see *any*
> way in which this could possibly be anything else. The only reason I can
> think of is to be able to use launchpad to control people, for whatever
> reason.

Proprietary advantage over other Linux distributions.  I don't think
that's the same thing as controlling people, quite.  I think they believe
the key to producing an excellent Linux distribution, more than anything
else, is excellent integration tools that do as much as possible of the
dirty work involved in pulling lots of software packages together.
They're investing in writing better tools, and they're keeping them
private so as to maintain a competative advantage with them over Red Hat,
SuSE, Fedora, and so forth.  Including Debian, for that matter.

That's fine with me.  I'm not the sort of believer in free software who
feels that non-free software is morally wrong.  This is something that
commercial companies can do; they can throw resources at a particular
problem and if they have the right people and the right starting points
and the right management infrastructure, they can often come up with stuff
that's significantly better than the state of the art.  More power to
them; the ideas, if not the software, will eventually enter the
commonwealth of information.

However, I'm not interested in helping them make money.  They're not
paying me and I don't do this for money except insofar as it's an
incidental part of my job.  If I were looking for a new job, I might
consider whether that would be a fun place to work.  Since I'm not, and
I'm working on building a better free Linux distribution, working on or
using non-free components is a waste of time and effort.  Nothing worse,
but also nothing better.  I wish them the best of luck with improving the
state of the art, but their work is irrelevant to me, except as an idea
generator, until such time as it's free.  Since otherwise, I'd be missing
the whole point.

I want to build up the information commons, not work on doing something
great just for the sake of doing something great.  Unless the work enters
the general commons, all the code and effort is basically wasted in
relation to my goals in working with Debian.

Russ Allbery (rra@debian.org)               <http://www.eyrie.org/~eagle/>

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