The Instigator
rbvim
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
Cailean
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

Free software is better than proprietary software

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/29/2012 Category: Technology
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,397 times Debate No: 26696
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (7)
Votes (0)

 

rbvim

Pro

It is my view that free software (see definitions below) is more beneficial to the end user and the community as a whole than proprietary software is.

By free software, I am referring to the Free Software Foundation's definition of: "Free software, software libre or libre software is software that can be used, studied, and modified without restriction, and that can be copied and redistributed in modified or unmodified form either without restriction, or with restrictions that only ensure that further recipients have the same rights under which it was obtained and that manufacturers of consumer products incorporating free software provide the software as source code."

The proprietary software definition: "Proprietary software or closed source software is computer software licensed under exclusive legal right of the copyright holder. The licensee is given the right to use the software under certain conditions, while restricted from other uses, such as modification, further distribution, or reverse engineering."
Cailean

Con

I accept your defintions for this debate. As you are the prop., I'll leave beginning the debate to you.
Debate Round No. 1
rbvim

Pro

I think that Free software is not only beneficial to the users of the software, but also to developers who want to help the free software community at large. It not only encourages innovation and collaboration, but it also encourages people to create derivative works and share them as the original software was shared. Forcing people to release any derivative works of the software is better than not allowing people to modify the software at all because the entire community can benefit (if a library is in question) or a segment of the community concerned with your software can benefit from it being free software.

Proprietary software, on the other hand, can only be of benefit to the end-user (i.e not to developers) because there is no source provided. In fact, when the source code isn't released at all, the end user suffers because she cannot know what the program is doing on her computer, except for what the program says it is doing. An example of this would be Google Chrome, which is proprietary (but based on Chromium). Google has used Chromium and packaged other things in with it, then released it as Chrome. To say that Chromium and Google Chrome are the same is wrong because Chrome is a different product; we are unaware of what Google has put into Chrome. It could even be safe to assume that Chrome is malware because:
  • We only have some idea of what it is doing on our computers (only what Google tell us)
  • Google has put in a "backdoor" to the software which allows automatic updating

Automatic updating may seem harmless, but it means that Google can push an update without the user's knowledge. One day Chrome is just a web browser. The next, it's a virus.

Unfortunately, this problem isn't only with Chrome, but with a variety of auto-updating software and software with backdoors. Only proprietary software can have backdoors because if it's free sotware (or even just open source), the source is available for people to look at. The user can tell if he wants a backdoor on her computer or not.

Proprietary can software also harm businesses; if a company wants a lighter or customised version of software, they can't have it unless the software is made for them. If a tool for, let's say, accounting is proprietary software, the company needs to work on their own version in their own time. This is potentially a big problem, because if the accounting software they wanted was free, they wouldn't have to make their own to suit their needs; they would only have to change a small portion of the free program. They could even as for help from the developers of the free software or any programmer available oa website like StackOverflow.

Cailean

Con

Cailean forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
rbvim

Pro

rbvim forfeited this round.
Cailean

Con

Cailean forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
rbvim

Pro

rbvim forfeited this round.
Cailean

Con

Cailean forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by Cailean 4 years ago
Cailean
Rbvim,
not wanting to interrupt your argument with AlwaysMoreThanYou, but can you please post your argument in the debate?
Posted by rbvim 4 years ago
rbvim
To not have control would be to release it in the public domain, but with the GPL you still have your copyright on the software, it's just expanded via the license to allow more to be done with your software.

If you really only cared about yourself in regard to distribution of your software, you wouldn't even consider releasing software under a copyleft or free software license at all, and you'd keep it as proprietary software.
Posted by AlwaysMoreThanYou 4 years ago
AlwaysMoreThanYou
I don't care about the free software cause or community though, I care about myself.

Since I can't really have any control over anything I make that uses the GPL in any way, I will not use anything that uses the GPL.
Posted by rbvim 4 years ago
rbvim
The FSF views it as a "boost" to their community if another program is free because of the GPL; this is true in the case of the Readline library where many programs that use the library are released as free. I'd go with the FSF on this one: forcing derivative works to be released as free is advantageous to the free software community because you won't have corporations using software you released under the GPL in their products which go against the free software cause.
Posted by AlwaysMoreThanYou 4 years ago
AlwaysMoreThanYou
Ironically, despite how blatantly it's trumpeted as 'free', it enslaves you to freedom.

If I want to create a closed-source derivative work, that avenue is closed to me.
Posted by rbvim 4 years ago
rbvim
@AlwaysMoreThanYou
Why don't you like the GPL?
Posted by AlwaysMoreThanYou 4 years ago
AlwaysMoreThanYou
I like free software that's not under the GPL.

LGPL is okay.
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