Musings of an anonymous geek

March 14, 2007

More news for Spanning Sync Refugees

Filed under: Big Ideas,Linux,Productivity,Scripting,Sysadmin,Technology — m0j0 @ 12:35 pm

First, there are lots of people who are pretty outraged by the new Spanning Sync pricing of $25/year for a subscription service or $65 for a one-time license. The people who are the most outraged are those who are intimately familiar with how buggy it is because they were beta testers. I’m in that camp myself. I no longer use Spanning Sync.

Second, I found this post talking about future pricing of gSync, which is currently in beta and plans to go commercial, but there are two important distinctions:

  1. There’s no central server involved. gSync connects directly to Google Calendar with no intermediary.
  2. They only plan to charge $20 for the download.

Finally, check out this quote from Charlie Wood of the Spanning Sync team:

“For example, another poster on this group (see
explained that he thinks, “Spanning Sync is a great product,” but that
he is, “unfortunately, a supporter of open source or free software,”
and therefore won’t be buying a subscription. My point is that
regardless of the price of the service (unless it was free), he
wouldn’t have ever been a customer of ours.”

This shows a complete lack of understanding about what open source and free software is about. To be clear: NEITHER THE OPEN SOURCE NOR THE FREE SOFTWARE COMMUNITIES SPECIFY THAT SOFTWARE SHOULD NOT BE A COMMERCIAL, MONEY-MAKING PRODUCT.

From the Free Software Foundation site:

You may have paid money to get copies of free software, or you may have obtained copies at no charge. But regardless of how you got your copies, you always have the freedom to copy and change the software, even to sell copies.

“Free software” does not mean “non-commercial”. A free program must be available for commercial use, commercial development, and commercial distribution. Commercial development of free software is no longer unusual; such free commercial software is very important.

And, from the Open Source Initiative website:

“How do I make money on software if I can’t sell my code?

You can sell your code. Red Hat does it all the time.”

Also, *I* am a supporter of free *and* open source software, and regularly pay for software, as do most people who have to get actual work done using tools for which there is no free/open alternative. “Free and Open” does NOT mean “no money changes hands”.

Please, if you’re a software developer, put some due dilligence into this, and if you’re a free/open source software supporter, try to work with the community on better relaying the message, because after, like, 20 years, people should’ve started to get this by now.

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