[Haskell-cafe] Re: Why Not Haskell?

Jón Fairbairn jon.fairbairn at cl.cam.ac.uk
Mon Aug 7 13:30:41 EDT 2006

Stefan Monnier <monnier at iro.umontreal.ca> writes:

> > I can't entirely dismiss GNU/FSF/GPL but it poses a fundamental conflict
> > with the only way I can see of earning a living so it's like a continuous
> > background problem which drains some of my energy and enthusiasm hence the
> > length of my rambling post where I made another attempt to understand my
> > relation to it.
> Maybe you should thank the FSF for making you doubt: you should really think
> very hard about how you're going to make a living off of selling a program,
> even if that program hasn't been anywhere near any GPL'd code.  In all
> likelihood it'll be much easier to earn your money by selling services
> around your program than just the program itself.

To add to that from the point of view of a potential user:
if there some programme that I'm going to rely on and its
source is not free, I'll look elsewhere rather than rely on
a single vendor that might disappear without a trace and
leave me with no support.

Conversely, if it has free source, but doesn't quite do what
I'm relying on it to do, I'll happily pay someone to sort it
out for me (assuming that I can't/don't want to/am to busy
to do it myself and that I have any money).

I know of several good ideas that started out as attempts at
commercial projects but weren't taken up. The best that
happened to them is that someone recoded the idea (or it was
re-released) as free software. If that didn't happen, they
disappeared without trace. Remember, keeping the code secret
is no protection against someone rewriting the whole thing
from scratch.  If it's a big enough idea, you can be sure
that some large commercial concern (and conceivably teams of
amateurs) will do that unless you've patented something
crucial... and keeping patents alive is an expensive
business -- especially if there's a large concern on your
case ("we want to use your patented idea. Oh, it looks like
your code uses one of our patented ideas; you'll be hearing
from our lawyers").

Jón Fairbairn                                 Jon.Fairbairn at cl.cam.ac.uk
http://www.chaos.org.uk/~jf/Stuff-I-dont-want.html  (updated 2006-07-14)

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