Free as in Freedom

So I took some time off, had a rummage sale, upgraded to Panther, and when I come back what happens? Everything has gone all crazy…

So I took some time off, had a rummage sale, upgraded to Panther, and when I come back what happens? Everything has gone all crazy…

Well, ok, everything didn’t go crazy, and really, it’s all about freedom.

See, while I took a look at Movable Type years ago, I decided it wasn’t free enough. I even went so far as to correct anyone who might have claimed MT was “open-source” because it wasn’t. In fact it had a license that was disturbing to me, in that it seemed to indicate Six Apart could terminate it at any point and force you to stop using it. That bothered me enough to not use it. I didn’t want to use it personally, and I couldn’t recommend it to commercial entities, as I thought it was too risky.

People love(d) Movable Type though, and as Mark explains, it’s partly because it was “free enough”. and it was for most people. But not for me, so I didn’t use it. Simple, eh?

Now I hear all sorts of complaints because all sorts of people are upset about the changes Six Apart is implementing for version 3.0 of Movable Type. First of all, I say “Good Luck” to Six Apart, I wish them the best, they seem to be doing what they love to do, create software, and make a living at it. I wouldn’t turn that down if the money was right and it didn’t frustrate the hell out of me. Six Apart seem like decent people, and like a decent company, but no matter who you are or what you do, at some point someone will think you are evil. Google, Blogger, Microsoft, Apple, doesn’t matter – if you do something and people don’t like it, you’re evil. Even if you do nothing you’ll be called evil for stagnating, or not changing the spec, even if it’s not a spec, or something… It’s just the way it goes. So now Six Apart is evil because of their licensing and pricing options. Next month it’ll be someone else who is evil. Maybe it’s because money is evil and any commercial entity has to make money, so they have to make evil. I don’t know…

I tried out WordPress last year, and liked it. It’s similar to Movable Type, but is released under the GPL (yay!) and written in PHP (oh well.) Just kidding, nothing wrong with PHP, I just tend to prefer Perl. So what? I’ll probably still end up using WordPress because it’s a great piece of software, I like the people behind it, and it’s GPL’d, so the future is assured.

Speaking of assuring the future, Dave tells us the Frontier kernel will be released under some open-source license. This is the one thing that could actually get me involved in Frontier again. Freedom? Control? Freedom to do what I might want to do, and not worry about the control of UserLand? Oooh, that’s exciting. I’ll be watching this one, as I’m still not sure what it all means, even after reading all 3 FAQ‘s.

So the big question is, do we make a trade off between evil and not evil, between commercial software and systems that can become evil, and open-source software and systems that hopefully cannot become evil, and at what price? I will switch from the slightly-evil Mac OS X to an open-source, future-assured operating system like Linux when I am completely comfortable with using it, and when it does almost everything I need to do almost as good as Mac OS X.

Until then, let the evil continue, in small doses, where appropriate.