[Fsfe-ie] The cost of proprietary software

Malcolm Tyrrell malcohol at eircom.net
Fri Jan 21 10:55:49 CET 2005

> I don't think that this is a good approach as it does not emphasise the
> real advantages of Free Software.

Well, it wasn't intended as an approach so much as a "fun fact" (assuming
it's true, which it may not be).

> The real advantages of Free Software are not the lack of an up-front
> licencing fee but the fact that _you_, as an individual or company, own
> your data.  The costs of proprietary software are not licences but the
> cost of reclaiming the data in thirty years time from an undocumented
> legacy format.
> In fact it is probably legal to charge a "per-seat licence" for Free
> Software.  RedHat provide a per-seat service if you don't copy their
> software.  You are free to copy and distribute their software but they
> then will not provide support to you.

The cost I was refering to was not the license fee, but some reckoning
of the loss of efficiency of using proprietary software. License fee is
one cost; you mention another such cost above. Naturally, a company using
Free Software also incurs costs but, in the long run, I would expect them
to be less. (I seem to remember that Microsoft argues the reverse using
some kind of "total cost of ownership" metric.)

The question I was posing can be summarised:
"Say that X is the total benefit to Ireland from propriatory software and
that Y is the total cost due to Ireland of priopriatory software, is X > Y."


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