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Re: Bestix, a new live CD

>From Vimal Joseph on Wednesday, 2006-04-19 at 12:10:01 +0530:
> On 4/6/06, Conrad Newton <conrad.newton@broadpark.no> wrote:
> > Like most live CDs, Bestix is a promotional tool for Free Software.
> Dear Friend please don't use a Non free tool like Skype in a free
> software promotional live CD.
> > Since there are many people outside of the community who have no idea
> > what free software is all about, there is clearly room for such a tool.
> Yes it is. But if the CD itself contain a non free tool, How can it be
> used to tell what free software is?

I know people have differing opinions on this matter, and I don't want
to start a flame fest, but I can briefly describe my point of view.

I am not against the idea of commercial software, even non-GPL
commercial software.  The main issue for me is the platform, which I
believe should be free, so that the essential conditions for building
software are equal for everyone -- no matter what kind of software
they create.  I prefer free software when given the choice between two
programs that in all other respects are identical.

In my view, the existence of non-GPL commercial software running on a
free platform should be considered a benefit.  It means that software
makers such as Opera and Skype take Linux seriously as a platform.  We
can only hope that users who are considering the use of free software as
a platform will also take that platform more seriously.  

Put briefly, all software that runs on Linux increases the value of
Linux as a platform.  If you accept the argument I have outlined, it
means that everyone who builds for the free software platform will
benefit from the existence of non-GPL software on Linux, including those
who make non-commercial GPL software.  

The existence of skype on the CD is a small wink to people who for some
reason believe that by adopting Linux as a platform they are leaving
their cozy home and moving into a slum.  So far as I can tell there is
not yet a GPL program that is functionally equivalent -- when there is,
skype will be replaced.  

Unlike MS Office, Skype does not leave a document trail, so we are not
tied to it.  We can abandon it whenever it suits us.


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