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'[OT]: Was "What have you designed using PIC?" Upda'
Peter L. Peres
|On Mon, 8 Jul 2002, Scott Dattalo wrote:
This is not so simple. First, working source code is very different from
principles, even if it can be modified to do something else. Second, both
working code and principles can be divided into those that one wishes to
publish (publishing being one or more of, self-advertising, helping
others, not helping others etc), and those that one does not wish to
For at least as long as I pay taxes, dues and levies, I will consider each
piece of released information from the point of view of its commercial
value. I do not consider the difference between my using it or someone
else using it significant, even if they are in a different country. The
reason is, that if he makes money off of it, while paying nothing, then
someone like me, from whom he should have bought the code, loses money.
Since taxes and levies make even my free time un-free, the code I wrote
cost me something. Tomorrow, it will be me who loses money, even if it is
a little and even if it is potential money (see market elasticity). If for
no other reason, then because someone will use free code instead of mine,
just like someone else used my free code instead of buying it.
Once one understands that freebies are there to grab for reasons other
than altruism most times, this makes a lot of sense imho.
Notice that I draw a solid line between commercial quality solid code one
needs to just burn into a chip to make a sell-able product and other types
of code that are not so readily translatable into a sellable product, at
least not without more work and expertise.
For example highly optimized code is not portable, and hard to maintain
and add changes to. (the damnation of the optimizer is, that in an optimal
system there is no room for an optimizer, by definition, and thus he needs
to remove himself from the system if he does his job right ;-).
I also hope that some people realise that their level of 'freebie'
(something that you would throw out or sell for $1 at a garage sale), can
make another man's fortune in another part of the world. At the same time,
it can break someone else's fortune who happens to be in the business of
trading in the same item in that (not so?) remote part of the world, if
the 'donation' is organized on a sufficient scale. Software tends to be
on that kind of scale when published and directly usable.
Laws against product dumping exist in most countries. They are buried
under stacks of 'economical treaties' and 'import-export treaties' and
other such things. By dumping I mean price-dumping on products.
There is also a difference vs. other types of free software, like many
Unix programs, which are free in an academic sense. You need to learn how
to use them however (that's the point). This is the same kind of thing
like not needing to learn to drive again when you change cars because all
cars have a steering wheel and two or three pedals that work the same.
It's the basic foundation knowledge level everything else stands on, and
it is free by virtue of its being in general use, not by being free to
produce. Universities and other types of persons and groups generate this
kind of 'base level' and the tools that go with it, while some firms try
to make everyone believe that this is 'legacy' or 'obsolete' or otherwise
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