Open Source vs. Closed Source vs. Paid vs. Free

After reading Bill Gates’s letter to hobbyists and GNU’s Free Software Movement, I realised that they talk about to different arguments. Bill Gates’s  letter talks about free software in terms of price and piracy while GNU talks about free software in terms of the openness of its source code.

I definitely agree with Bill Gates that it is unfair for programmers and companies who spend their time and resources on writing software if this software is made available for free.

GNU presents a very good argument. The only reason the human race has advanced as far as it has now is because people have been building on the work of their ancestors. Quantum physics couldn’t have been thought of without Newtonian physics. What would have happened if Newton’s work had all been closed away from the rest of the world? This applies to software too and is actually the reason software is closed source. It is that way because the firms making the software want this building on previous work to come from their side only to keep them on top. About 2.4 billion people in the world have access to the Internet. Even 0.04% of the Internet users (a million people) working at trying to improve software would have much more success than a single company.

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