Linux Blog

Whats your take on proprietary software?

Filed under: General Linux,Linux Software — at 11:57 am on Monday, August 4, 2008

Using proprietary software to some Linux users is considered a sin, right up there with not reading the manual. Not everyone that runs Linux feels this way. I for one don’t mind using a commercial / propriety product if the product serves the purpose well, and perhaps better than an open source implementation.

Take VMWare server for example. Although it does have its problems, it works very well for virtualization. Its pretty stable, has a good interface, works well and most of all is free. I have no problem installing and using this as long as it works.  I’ve been using it for a while, its what I’m used to and I have no problems with it. The moment VMWare Server stops working, I’ll try to find another alternative. Be it open source or not.

I don’t get why some people are so into the open source movement. Not tainting a system to me has no clear advantages. If I were to not install any proprietary software I would hardly be able to use my Linux box. Think about it, no Java (ok, I’d have the IcedTea runtime and GCJ), but no supported Java for Tomcat / Eclipse, I’d have no Flash, hardly any video codecs and no 3D accelerated graphics. My virtualization, may or may not work depending on what day of the week it was or if I had supported hardware. There is probably a whole lot more that I am missing that I don’t even know about.

So, I’m just interested to know what is every one else’s take on using proprietary software? Am I alone in being “fine” with installing closed source / proprietary software? Is my computer going to go to robot hell and sing with Bender for eternity? Please let me know your thoughts.

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Comment by threethirty

August 13, 2008 @ 2:04 pm

I personally think that it is not ethical to write software that is non-free (think free speech, not free beer). you should never treat you users like criminals, which is what non-free software does. I have no problem with purchasing software as long as they supply the source and allow for modifications and sharing. Anyone who uses non-free software is giving away the freedoms that using linux gives you. Even if you can’t program software freedom is important, its like giving away your right to free speech becuase you don’t say anything that wouldn’t be allowed


Comment by Owen

August 22, 2008 @ 8:49 am

I personally don’t think that by using non-free software I’m giving up any rights. We are talking open source here right? Because technically there are some “open source” projects that try there best to make it hard to work. The users rely on the community to patch it all back together. The Linksys NSLU2 variants, DD-WRT and Cent OS are good examples of this.

There is also plenty of free software that is not open source, be it for Linux, Windows or Mac. You give up your privacy when you use this software, and are bound to their EULA.

One of the freedoms that Linux gives you is the ability to do what you want :) If you want to run solely “open-source” software, or spend money / install proprietary software because it simply works better than open source solutions, then go ahead…. Thats the beauty.

I think that if you provide a service with your software then you are entitled to cover your costs, or let the community do it for those that can’t afford it. If you make enough money off it and Ubuntu is a good example of this, then give it away for free.

Proprietary software to me just isn’t a big deal I guess.

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