An up-to-date look at free software and its makers


Article from Issue 85/2007

The recent discussion concerning the future of Mozilla Thunderbird is one example of the needs of a corporation vs. those of the user community.

The relationship between the open source community and software vendors has always been tricky. Uncompromising supporters of free software avoid using proprietary software – especially on the operating-system front – and many community members view market leader Microsoft as an evil-doer. In contrast to this, the most widespread ree system, Linux, offers a safe haven for open source advocates. One should avoid this kind of oversimplified
view of application software vendors. Some classical software manufacturers produce and sell proprietary-only applications, and their standing with the open source community is generally not much better than Microsoft’s. These vendors can only expect more community acceptance if they develop products for free operating systems.

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