Wednesday, April 25, 2007

free software: free economic participation

With free software, individuals and organizations are free to share, sell, and commercially support such tools.

By contrast, proprietary software denies individuals and organizations needed economic freedoms. The result is monopolization of business specializing in such endeavors. Monopolization means dependency upon permission from another when a modification to, or knowledge of, source code is desired. Governments, schools, businesses, and individuals dependent upon proprietary vendors to service their technology are at a distinct educational and economic disadvantage. At the level of source code, economic participation is eviscerated. Although socially reprehensible anywhere, this is especially unfortunate for developing nations who may otherwise utilize the free market free software provides for their own region. Educationally, dependence means ignorance as the workings of proprietary software are typically kept secret. Educating oneself with regard to proprietary software means signing an agreement that breaks the bonds of human relationship. This effectively exports the acquired knowledge and skill set back to the vendor. This brain-drain clearly has negative long-term consequences in the tech sectors of local economies.

With free software, citizens of any nationality may refine, innovate upon, and share tools that rebuke the antisocial wall proprietary software constructs between users and developers. Free software offers free participation through a level playing field of economic opportunity.

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