Sunday, January 20, 2008

Free Stuff

There are currently a plethora of commercials for medical products, many of which offer free trials. I never have trusted these sorts of products. One of the commercials has somebody saying 'if its free, it must be good', and I always scoff. However, it occurred to me recently that I have basically the opposite view with software. Most (all?) of the software I use at home is from the Free/Open Source community. I'm always encouraging people to use such software (firefox, linux in particular).

So why the difference? Am I just a huge hypocrite? Do I not really believe, deep down, in the FOSS movement?

I hope not. I think the difference is that the medical products are given away in hopes that people will spend lots of money later. And it is my impression that most people are fairly gullible about lots of the medical (and dietary) crap these days, and I feel like the companies are preying on, and encouraging, this. Alternatively, 'free' (as in speech) software comes from a community that wishes to make great software, and happen to believe that the software should be available to use and modify and redistribute without restriction. Damn hippies. :)

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