The Instigator
chrisp
Pro (for)
Winning
4 Points
The Contender
socialpinko
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

Software can (and should) be free

Do you like this debate?NoYes+2
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
chrisp
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/22/2011 Category: Technology
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,921 times Debate No: 15543
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (4)
Votes (1)

 

chrisp

Pro

By free, I mean free as in “free speech,” not as in “free beer.”

> Free software = freedom
With free software, you can use a program as you wish without any restrictions, learn from the program's source and even improve the program and distribute your changes.

> Free software = better software
Bugs can be fixed much more easily by a community of users and developers built around an open-source program. Anybody can improve the program, share his changes with others and receive feedback. This basicly means that open-source programs constantly evolve to meet the demands of their users.

And to an extent, knowledge and information should also be free.

And yes, open-source software developers can, should and do make money from their work.
socialpinko

Con

I wish my opponent the best of luck in this debate. Also your distinction between the different definitions of free does not seem to make sense. Software is a product like beer which is sold for profit and not some abstract entity like speeh.

============================================================================
> Free software = freedom
With free software, you can use a program as you wish without any restrictions, learn from the program's source and even improve the program and distribute your changes.
============================================================================

How does free software = freedom for the person or company who spent money to develop that software? Take Microsoft for example. That company spends millions of dollars a year to develop the best software in the world. Why do they do this? Not so that the world will become a better place but because they make a sh!tload of money making it. Without profit there is no incentive for huge corportations to create new software.

============================================================================
> Free software = better software
Bugs can be fixed much more easily by a community of users and developers built around an open-source program. Anybody can improve the program, share his changes with others and receive feedback. This basicly means that open-source programs constantly evolve to meet the demands of their users.
============================================================================

You could make the same argument for any other product but that does not necessarily entail a better product. Why do people get hired by software production corporations? Because they know what they are doing. A community of people who are not necessarily qualified to make changes will not necessarily have the user's best interest at heart. Especially of they have no profit motive.
Debate Round No. 1
chrisp

Pro

First of all, thank you for accepting the debate!

your distinction between the different definitions of free does not seem to make sense. Software is a product like beer which is sold for profit and not some abstract entity like speeh.

It is not my definition actually, I quoted Richard Stallman there. I thought this definition of free, if not the quote itself would be well known. I apologize if it sounded confusing, but as someone state on the comments page, by free I basicly mean open-source.

Software is much more than "a product like beer sold for profit", software can contain ideas and technologies that allow better products to be built. But even in physical objects, like in a bottle of beer or in a chair you have some fundamental freedoms. You can use the object as you like, make changes to it and share it with your friends. So why should software take those basic rights away? According to your argument, only because this results in a greater profit for the development companies and this creates motive to build new products. I will answer this shortly.

How does free software = freedom for the person or company who spent money to develop that software?
You don't have to spend money to develop software, but Iassume you also mean time and effort.

Software is usually built onto other software. If that software is also free, it can help the developers save time. But generaly free software is more about the users' freedom and it should be that way! It is not a freedom of any product maker to prevent you from using their product as you like! How would you react if you were sued by a furniture company because you decided to let your friend use their product? Or because you tried making a table out of their bed? Or because you tried copying their chair? So why should microsoft prevent you from doing the same thing with their products?

Take Microsoft for example. That company spends millions of dollars a year to develop the best software in the world. Why do they do this? Not so that the world will become a better place but because they make a sh!tload of money making it.
Best software in the world? I can say the same thing about the linux community and they make free software. That's a matter of personal taste, but a reason microsoft's products are generaly bad (in my opinion) is because they are not open.

Anyway, your only actual argument is that non-free software makes makes money, free software doesn't make any money and therefore the motive to creating non-free software is greater and this results in non-free software being better. It sounds logical, but there's a huge mistake:

Free software developers DO make money from sponsors, from E-training, support, donations and many other things. Take a look at canonical. Its founder was the first african to visit the moon and he payed his trip from his own pocket. Canonical makes money and yet ubuntu (the most popular linux distro used by millions of people) is free.

A community of people who are not necessarily qualified to make changes will not necessarily have the user's best interest at heart.
Closed software programs are the ones that might harm your computer, not open source! And the open-source software always has some coding standards. Official submissions are always reviewed.

To end my turn, I would like to remind you of great free software products, you most probably use at least one of them:
> Mozilla Firefox, a browser used by millions. It makes 50-100 million dollars a year (according to http://thenextweb.com...). Just take a look at bugzilla and the community there.
> Google Chrome, another free browser made by google.
> Ubuntu, a linux distro OS used by millions including me.
> OpenOffice, a great alternative to MS office!
> VLC, the best media player around.
> GIMP , and alternative to photoshop.
Also 7-zip, Thunderbird, Paint.NET and many, many more!
socialpinko

Con

socialpinko forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
chrisp

Pro

My opponent forfeited in the last round, I don't have much to add.

To summarize:
Voters, please vote pro...
  • Because Software, when sold for money, can lead to violations of your basic rights as a user. Your friend can sit on the chair you bough, you can open your TV up and see what's inside, you can make a paper airplane from a book. So why can software developers take away those basic rights?
  • Because free software developers DO make money.
  • Because free software means great software and there are many examples of that.
  • Because of Firefox and Chrome (Currently the best browsers in the globe), Linux Ubuntu (Awesome and complete Operating System used by millions), OpenOffice (Alternative to Microsoft Office), VLC (The best media player ever!), GIMP (Photoshop alternative), 7zip (Compresson tol), Thunderbird (Best email software ever), Paint.NET (Image editing).
  • Because it's about your rights as a user!


socialpinko

Con

I apologize for my forfeit as I have not been on in a few days(You can see my thread on the debate.org forum). I will not bring any new arguments or respond to my opponent's as it would clearly be abuse.
Debate Round No. 3
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by Dmetal 6 years ago
Dmetal
The fact I'm using mozilla firefox and that I have downloaded gimp means that I must vote pro on this one.
Posted by Thaddeus 6 years ago
Thaddeus
He did make it clear enough in his first sentence.
Posted by socialpinko 6 years ago
socialpinko
In that case I need pro to clarify a little more.
Posted by Thaddeus 6 years ago
Thaddeus
socialpinko, I believe what chrisp is referring to by "free" is not "without cost", but rather opensource, ie anyone can screw with it if they want.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Cliff.Stamp 6 years ago
Cliff.Stamp
chrispsocialpinkoTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: Forfeit.