Older blog entries for lhorn (starting at number 1)

Free Documentation

I knew about the book "How to Think Like a Computer Scientist: Learning with Python" for some time and read some parts of it online. This book is an introductiory text for programming beginners starting at the very first steps. The best thing about it is that it's published under the GNU Free Documentation License.

Some days ago I read about other Free books published by Network Theory Ltd[2]. Together with the books from GNU Press[3] we are heading into the right direction. Free Documentation for Free Software! In the future I'll think twice about buying anther book from one of the big publishers if it's not Free.

Which kind of Free Software business people like (and which not)

Yesterday I was at a presentation by Libelis[1] about their JDO[2] implementation. Since JDO is a specification which can be implemented by many parties, other implementations, including as Free Software, exist.

For Libelis these projects are direct competition. This is also true for projects solving the problem of object persistence in a way not conforming to the JDO specification. The most prominent such project at the moment is Hibernate[3] which is Free Software under the LGPL.

The speaker from Libelis yesterday had much to say against Hibernate. Since it's no implementation of the JDO specification, he called it "proprietary", meaning not conforming to a "standard". Being a project with dedicated and visible people he talked about a "guru problem". All in all he didn't say a good thing about a Free Software project that is a direct competition to the product of his company.

Of course there were other Free Software projects he liked: Ant[4], Tomcat[5], and XDoclet[6] all didn't have the problems Hibernate had for him. Although all three being Free Software projects he didn't mention the problem of them being "proprietary" or the "guru problem". Since they are no competition for his project and since he can use them for his own work, they are welcome.

You may have already noticed that I totally disagree with the attitude of this person. He clearly was no part of the Free Software community, only taking and using the projects he estimated as useful while at the same time badmouthing projects that are a competition to him.

I think this is the way business people think about Free Software: Take as much out of it as possible without giving anything back. Fight all Free Software that dangers your business.

This is a bad think.

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