Free Software: Ciaran O’Riordan has just announced the launch of IFSO, the Irish Free Software Organisation:
With Ireland holding the presidency of the EU for the next six months, political lobbying in Ireland will be of increased importance. The fate of the software patentability directive is still undecided, and we now also have the Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement Directive to deal with. In the coming months, members of IFSO also plan to work on spreading education and adoption of Free Software in Ireland. Once we have a proven track record, we hope to become an associate organisation of FSF Europe.
He also notes: ‘by no coincidence, today is also the 20th anniversary of the beginning of the GNU project.’
Funny: Lobster Barbie outfit turns out to be a lifesaver: ‘Practical jokers Jim Bright and Chris Costello never imagined that their idea of dressing a female lobster in a Barbie outfit – accessorized with pink high heels – would save her from the steam pot. But it did – at least 10 times.’
Software: some interesting bits on how piracy affects the small software developer from PeerFear (the developer of NewsMonster), Nick Bradbury (Feed Demon), and Ambrosia Software — all small-scale commercial software developers.
Nick notes that when he uploaded a fake ‘cracked’ version to a warez site, he found out that more people used the warez in a few weeks than had ever paid for it. Amazing.
For a while now, I’ve been keen on shareware. I’ve paid for the shareware software I use (like iSilo), purely because I like the shareware model — and the software, of course. ;)
I prefer free software, but I understand some people need to make money from what they’re writing directly in this way, and aren’t writing the software as a kind of hobby or with a ‘public good’ motivation (which is pretty much what drives me to write free software). I even experimented with publishing as shareware myself at one stage.
I found, however, that open source suits me better; I like the way it builds a community of trust around the code, seems to gain better mindshare, reduces the bottleneck on the software developer himself, and generally is more how I’d like to do it. Plus, nobody’s going to pirate code they download for free anyway so I never have to worry about adding DRM-like stuff and accidentally annoying legit users with painful registration codes and so on ;)
With any commercial software, commercial support is required; thoughts about how to pay for it is required; and the developer has to make a commitment to the users in many ways. It’s hard work, and a full-time job. For the software I write in my free time, I can’t provide this support, so free software is the appropriate way to release it.