How does Free/Libre Open Source Software (FLOSS) work?

I guess many people who are not active in the movement do not know that. You often meat preconceptions. People think a software that is given out for free must be stolen. The software industries advertisements against software piracy had this side effect: People think this can’t be true – if everybody tells them that if you just take a software and use it – that this is immoral. For people inside the movement this sounds stupid – as we know that we just cooperate differently. And we also do earn our money in different ways. Maybe its more hard to earn money with free software because you have to be more smart. We just cant say: You pay me X for 5 copies and Y form 10 copies. this just does not makes sense when copies are available for free. So the business models are very different. Nonetheless we also need to eat and drink and have to pay our expenses.

FLOSS works with giving and sharing. This is one of the essentials of humankind. In FLOSS we do cooperate a lot more as other party of the society. Everybody has a handful of projects maybe through his live and independent from his job occupation. Priorities might change in live due to job or love live – but generally in FLOSS activists and programmers are a lot more independent in what they do and what direction they follow. If they loose one job – there old projects might get more time.

FLOSS is about defining small goals, creating projects, finding people to join, finding users to test and work or use a software or project. This all exists in a community atmosphere – maybe a lot more like science community than business world, although there are also connections. its a market of ideas and opportunities and not always the ideas with the most money wins. Often small projects gain the most attention because they solve a problem best.

Nobody has absolute control. Many try to influence others about what is coming up next. Sure, as everywhere people have their interests and it is always a good idea to also be sceptical against false prophets. Look at what they actually do or what they really advocate. Many directions are not always in the best interest of the user but in the interest of one developer or one organisation or company. the problem with that is that this can successfully block projects from going to another level. This is especially true if people are very influential in the community. People still like leaders and do often not like to think for themselves but rather being told that something is cool. But we all have the chance to look more deeply – and there is no company that can keep us from doing the real cool stuff or going to another level.

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Filed under Free Culture, Free Software, Linux, Technology

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