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Closed Source Consulting

It's okay to close the source to consulting, but the software must be open source. Why is it okay and accepted to offer closed, restrictive, consulting about free software ?

i.e. "come in to my office and we'll discuss this GNU software. You can download the sources at the website with no restrictions. But you must pay me for any knowledge or detailed documentation regarding the software, and you cannot download my consulting speeches (digital audio) at my website unrestrictedly. If you wish for me to come to your building and install the software, you'll have to pay the price (either in speech or in cost) before we can do any business transaction."

Even though we can easily replicate digital audio tapes of consulting, those are not free because... I'm a hypocrite.
All consulting is closed source. All consulting involves holding back knowledge and restricting it from others. Drawing the line and saying that "it's okay to consult or offer services on free software" is a clash, a ludicrous clash. I'm sorry if I offended anyone who makes a living this way, but it's true. You are living a lie. What can be done?
Why is it that in the GNU license (and other licenses too) there is no statement saying "you must make available all documentation and all consulting information about your software in addition to the sources"?

You bloody well know the answer. Because there just has to be some way for these GNU (and other) folk to restrict their so called "free software". Closing the source to the knowledge is restricting the software. The software is not free. Offering "services and consulting" is a restrictive act, and is no way different than someone creating restrictive shareware. Why is it not different? Because in the shareware case, people are charging you for the software. In the GNU case, people are indirectly charging you for the software by moving the goal posts. GNU folk are restricting you from the knowledge and consulting.

It may end up that in the GNU case you are less restricted in some cases, and with shareware you are less restricted since you get free help (consulting) from the author about using your software. In order for software to be truly utopian free like Richard Stallman wants, the consulting, knowledge, and services behind the software must also be free too. We're not just talking about free cost or free speech alone here, we're talking about both.
Jee how we gonna make a living on that, papa?
Free software is not free, until the consulting and the hardware is too. Don't live a lie. Or at least, maybe you must make compromises right now in order to make a living, but please acknowledge this fact that you are living a clash (and so am I).
I use GNUtard software, and participate in GNU projects (and in other licensed projects like MIT/BSD software, and freeware). But GNU (and other licenses) are missing a big chunk of philosophy. The big problem is that if software was truly free, there would be no restriction on consulting about the software either: in a utopian GNU society Richard Stallman would record his consulting on video tapes or audio lectures and offer it free - he wouldn't charge money over and over again for his restricted speeches on cruise ships.

Restriction is what allows capitalism to take place. Without some form of restriction there will not be a capital. That's why Stallman hypocritically charges money on cruise ships for knowledge about the software while giving the software code away for free. It's okay to close source the knowledge, but not the software?

(restriction also allows communism to take place: you restrict every idiot to being perfectly equal with the other individual, even though they are not ever going to be perfectly equal (life would be boring)).

You can not make a living based on capital, without restricting SOME aspect about the software. Whether it's the source code you are restricting, or the consulting that you are restricting, in both cases your software is not free. In some cases, people could care less about the source code behind your product. So does this mean that restricting the documentation or the consulting behind the product is any different than charging for shareware? Hardly. Because source code is not always the main reason people download software. If I was to download a free version of some software without any documentation, it would be OKAY according to GNU. Why? What makes the source code more important than the documentation or the consulting behind the product?
For the people who make a living off free software, they will have a very hard time admitting to and reading the points in this article. That's okay, it's natural. Just accept your software as a compromise. We all must make compromises. Even if GNU software is not completely free, it still is AIMING for some piddly bit of freedom - but the guy behind it all, Richard Stallman, doesn't understand the basic concept that sometimes source code isn't very important compared to other things (just as no one gives a rats ass about the electronic circuit diagrams to their toaster oven).

Freeing up the documentation/consulting and the hardware would be even more man-ly and gutsy than the softwarwe - because if you freed the consulting, you'd free the speech - no one would be restricted to get information about the software - and if you freed up the hardware with a 3D printer... almost anything would be possible...

Usually, consulting and speech about the software, and what it does, and how to work with it, is far more important than the source code. Many large corporations could care less about the source code of the software - they care that the software works reliably and that they have proper documentation. They also care that they have experts and consultants to help them when they need a hand and expert advise. Many people and companies do not want to heavily modify the source code, they want to keep the programs unified and similar on each workstation or desktop.

So if we freed up the knowledge and consulting - and no one was allowed to restrict consulting or documentation about the software - could anyone make a living? No, because it would be MANDATORY for you to offer consulting without restricting folks - and it wouldn't work unless you lived in Zeitgeist where everyone stole everything from each other and didn't care. Similarly, with the GNU license it is mandatory that you give away the source and you do not restrict it.

So why does GNU software work? The reason it works for businesses is because GNU allows one to restrict consulting from being free, allows one to restrict expert advice from being free, allows one to restrict books about the topic from being free. But, all books and consulting courses and lectures can easily be digitally replicated with the invention of the digital camera and photocopier.. do you see the hypocrisy? MIT's Open courseware is an example of digitally replicating lectures, consulting, and university courses...

I am speaking of general restrictions and not just cost. "You can't ask me for advice about the software until you pay me" is one form of restriction - it happens to be about cost, but it is one form of restriction that stops the knowledge from being free.

GNU software works for companies because it still allows one to restrict speech, not because it frees speech. Censoring the consulting is censoring speech. Friends don't charge friends for speech.. and you can do this with GNU. Stallman himself does. He could record all his speech on cruise ships with a digital microphone and camera and offer it free... but he does not do this. Why? Because he is a hypocrite and is blinded by only thinking about replicative software freedom.

GNU has nothing to do with free speech. It's just some bizarre hard to understand license blindly narrowly focused on wares.

See also:

Closed Source Knowledge


GNG is not GNU (funny)




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