Monday, September 15, 2003

The problem with free software. Picking up a running theme of mine, I read Paolo's blog asking "Are Free Weblogs good for the Internet?" (via Dave Winer.) Paolo argues (correctly, I think) that free blogs might not be such a good thing because folks offering them will not have any incentive to innovate and support new standards (aside: the phrase "new standards" is kind of interesting -- are they new or are they standards? ... of course we know what he means :-)

I would like to take it a step further.

Folks offering free products will not be able to support new standards, but they also will not be able to support their users, document their products, test them and most importantly allow them to evolve and grow and reach their potential just by surviving a few years and innovating. This is a big deal.

We have lots and lots of ok products, apps, servers and so on, that are interesting to us connaisseurs, but I have to wonder about the professional journalists, lawyers and politicians and other civilians that have to struggle with style sheets and javascript. Oy!

I think we have to be careful about our love affair with free and cheap (and for that matter our disdain for folks that actually ask a fair price for their software) because in the end we may get just what we asked for.

If we want good stuff (and we do) we will have to support folks who are building it for us.

9:22:18 PM  >  trackback []   comment []