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What is freedom, in software? Freedom is the right to choose to use software that is Open Source with a completely unencumbered license, and the right to write software and distribute it under such a license. Freedom in software is also the right to write propriatory software, even with parts that originate from Open Source Software. Freedom is not restriction or force, those that attempt to force others to open the source to software by using restrictive pseudo-Open licenses are working against freedom in software. Freedom is the ability to choose, and be informed in making a choice.
Freedom is the right to have and use software licensed to you (not be restricted by phone home or Cloud use). Freedom is the right to be informed in your decisions on what software to use. If any piece of software requires an internet connection to work (network software can work without the internet), or has limits without an internet connection, then it is apposed to freedom, as the servers it uses are not sure to last forever, nor is the content sure to remain unchanged for the version you use. This is even so for software that requires you to open a web page on a remote system to view it's help files; how do you get the help if that server disappears in the future?
I feel that Open Source software is better to use, as it is more possible to verify exactly what the software is doing, as well as to modify the software to suite a need, so long as it is on the users computer. I also feel that cloud computing is anti-freedom in many ways. I believe strongly in the freedom of the user of any software to have the choice to use software that is open source, I believe strongly in the freedom of the user to fully have on there system the full software used to do what they wish, and I believe strongly in the right of the user to choose. I also believe strongly in the right of the software authors to choose how they wish to distribute there software, as this is part of the freedom in the true sense of freedom.
I try to educate people that cloud computing can be dangerous. Cloud computing puts part of the software you are using on some server out of your reach, and puts you out of control of your data and programs. Cloud computing puts at risk everything you use as the cloud service could suddenly lock you out do to the actions of someone else, or do to business decisions of the parent company. Cloud computing also means that you do not have the ability to run your software in the future if it gets discontinued. Cloud computing is anti-choice, anti-trustworthy practice, and software lockout.
If a user chooses to use closed source software that will run on there own computer 100% without any need of the internet, no need to "phone home", then the user should be allowed to make that choice. No company should sell a license to software that restricts the ability to use the software in the future, this includes requiring the software to "phone home" to verify the license (what happens when the server that is being used is no more?), this is anti user behavior. There is a lot of software that is still in use today, and does not cause any trouble, that is over 30 years old since the company that created it went out of business, so do not lock out users and do not do Cloud services.
There are programs for live collaboration across the network, video chat, and anything else you may need to do, that do not require a particular server exist, do not rely on cloud systems, etc.
A truly unencumbered Open Source software license will allow the use of source code in both commercial and open source software without restrictions placed on the use of the source code of the software being licensed. A truly unencumbered Open Free Software license will allow for choice, and never try to force others to release there sources. A truly unencumbered license will promote good relations between commercial software houses and the Open Source authors.
Do to the nature of servers disappearing over time, I even keep this site written to be server independent and thus able to be put onto another server in the future. I also keep this site free of any scripts, and free of any includes (including css) so that it should always be viewable. This site is 100% hand written HTML, no third party templates, no automated tools used at all, all my own IP. Even simple things like this contribute to keeping freedom in our software.
There is nothing wrong with writing or using proprietary commercial software if that is what one wishes to do. Just maintain freedom of choice in so doing, and the freedom of the user to completely have the software on there local systems without restrictions of any kind. So long as the software will always work once licensed to the user, and never needs to phone home, never needs to access a server on the net for any reason whatsoever, then it is alright.
Make sure the user is completely aware of what the software is, what its dependancies are, what the licensing restrictions are, and if you want to write commercial software go for it. Also be sure that if you use some code from an Open Source project to give credit where it is due.
If you are a user that wishes to use closed source Commercial Software for whatever reason, you should have the right to do so without any limits and without having to worry that the software may stop working at some point in the future. You should have the right to have and posses the software entirely on your system without needing an internet connection to use the software to its fullest.
If you write Open Source software, and wish your code to remain Open Source always that is alright. Just do not force others to open there source when the link in or include your source. It is OK to require that others release your code if they use it, so long as they can keep there source closed if they wish to do so.
True Open Free Software has been around a lot longer than organizations like GNU, and was more often more Open Source before GNU started there marketing. Free Open Source Software that is truly free still is around and allows for any use of the software without restrictions on what is done with other code that is closed.
For both Open Source and closed source software it used to be the norm to allow the software to be used forever without restriction. This is freedom of choice. Requiring that the software access a web server is anti freedom, requiring Cloud Services is anti freedom in nature. So please keep freedom in all software, both Open Source and Closed Source.
If you write Closed Source Commercial software, please consider releasing the Source of older versions, as well as of any product that has reached the end of its commercial life span. If you write Closed Source Free Software please make sure that you tell your users why you do not want to share that source code.
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