FOSS is Commercial

OMG Ubuntu recently posted an entry on their blog about the new paid for Ubuntu Software Center.

I like the guys at OMG, they’re doing some interesting stuff, but d0od you’ve got a mistake and the article needs fixing.

Commercial software is not software that is closed source, commercial software is just software that you pay for. I’d love to see Free Software for sale in the Ubuntu software center, but of course because everyone is conflating proprietary with commercial and FOSS with free beer it’s frustrating efforts to monetise Free Software and make this whole gig sustaining.

This is doing a dis-service to the real power of FOSS as a peer reviewed, stakeholder and user empowered development by suggesting the only defining point to it is it’s free cost. It isn’t, the free cost is incidental, this community isn’t a charity and we shouldn’t be expected to behave like one all the time.

I’m asking you to stop explaining FOSS as free beer and commercial as proprietary. For the livelihood of programmers who want to make FOSS their job. Stop forcing software developers to close code up in order to make a living or force them to donate their time to make Free Software. Just pay a fair price for Free Software development and open access to market places and complain about markets that help promote the confusion by only selling proprietary software while giving away FOSS.

I don’t know if the Ubuntu Software Center will, I hope that since Ubuntu is an open community we can make some progress and get Canonical to support FOSS by allowing their marketplace to sell our services.

Three cheers for commercial free and open source software!

Three rotten tomatoes for proprietary software of any kind!