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There Is No Value In Free – The Dangers of Giving Stuff Away — 4 Comments

  1. I must wholeheartedly concur with your advice. My developer skills include Linux, PHP & MySQL with CMS applications such as Joomla, WordPress, Magento etc. Within such development you have GPL licensed ‘free’ give away code.

    The model of GPL rests upon people wanting enhancements and paying for support. This model is now broken due to ‘free’ carrying liabilities. Take, for example, someone purchasing a laptop with free anti-virus being included. Consumer law now has it that the ‘free’ is part of the purchase contract and as such the free anti-virus must be fit for use. If the consumer gets a PC virus then they may have rights of recourse to the supplier of their laptop. The supplier may then roll this liability back onto the supplier of the free anti-virus.

    The GPL terms of the free software may not legally limit the consumer rights so there is a liability created when no income is present to support it.

    ‘Free’ always had liability because one size does not fit all. Expectations are always created when a potential user decided to use your ‘free’ something. You may have no opportunity to advise upon, and perhaps change or customise, your software or service. The prospect, which could be substantial, then has a disappointing experience which could have been avoided if they choose another method, modification or customisation to meet with their needs.

    I suggest that ‘Free’ is a bad fit in the modern day world of instant answers. It does not permit a fuller experience and better consultation of the end users’ needs.

    Kind regards,

    Anton Hinxman

    • I code libre software, and what I do is this:

      When I create a new util I place the link to it where people would find it the most useful, for free. But if they want the links to all the utils, they have to pay for it.

      For instance GitLab allows keeping the repositories public, while hiding the list of them by setting your profile as private.

      I cannot tell if this model is effective, as I just started doing it like that. But it looks as making sense.

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