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Projects Restrict Binaries but Offer Sources


A lot of software projects that use the GNU license offer some sort of scam that restricts the software... not by restricting source code but by restricting something else even more important than source code.

I was recently downloading the VirtualBox software [long ago, this is an old article] and in their downloads section they restrict access to the binaries. They don't allow typical companies to download the binaries under GNU. Only the source code can be downloaded under GNU.

This is fine for me.. or anyone else who can compile the code. But it restricts many people who aren't clever enough to compile the source. This is a form of restriction of speech or restriction of software. It is really funny and ironic.. that one can restrict speech and restrict binaries with GNU software.... because GNU is supposed to be about freedom. GNU is only about freedom (restriction) of source code.. and the reason that many software companies make money selling GNU software is because instead of selling the software, they restrict other important parts of the transaction.

In many cases the source code is the least important part of the software to an end user or a company that just wants a working package. So restricting the source code is less important than restricting the working package.

For example many people downloading VirtualBox software could care less about the sources. Most people are looking for a VMWare alternative when they download VirtualBox. So when they go on the site and they see that VirtualBox is restricting the binaries to personal users only.. they may pay VirtualBox a fee to get their commercial binary. They may not have time or patience or knowledge to compile their own copy of the software.

Ideally if software was truly free in speech, both the binaries and the sources would be offered without restriction (and free support contracts too, as in speech)... because in many cases the binaries and support contracts are more important than the source code itself. By restricting the binaries and restricting the support contracts, and by just offering a bunch of source files, one may be restricting the software more than if he'd just shipped the binary as freeware without any sources. Because maybe 99.9 percent of the software users downloading the binaries aren't intelligent enough to modify the sources anyway. In other words GNU has so many ironic loop holes that it isn't even funny. It's not about freedom.. GNU is just another way of saying 'if we don't restrict X we must restrict Y to make a living'.

I'm not complaining about people not providing binaries.. because I myself am smart enough to compile the source.. I'm just saying that GNU is not about free speech. GNU is about source code, and nothing more. Speech should not be mentioned anywhere.. especially since a lot of GNU authors make their money by restricting speech.. restricting the consulting. If GNU software was truly about free speech, it would not allow people to restrict software.. and people that don't offer binaries are restricting software.. since the binary is what is most commonly used. People that charge for consulting or charge for conferences or charge for speaking about the software are also severely restricting the speech and the software. Yet all GNU software authors are allowed to restrict speech, consulting, binnary access, downloads, etc.

The good news of course is that even with all these stupidities, GNU software still can be cheaper and higher quality than proprietary software. I'm not arguing that GNU software sucks technically. because it doesn't always (although GNU make and GCC are pretty shitty). I'm arguing that GNU is not about free speech, but about FREEWARE source code subsidized (i.e. not free, utlimately) by tax payers or proprietary closed corporations. The people who invented GNU just aren't as intelligent as I am. They think they know what free speech is but they get paid money to restrict speech themselves.. such as Richard Stallman.. so any time I bring up something like this article above they will simply deny and ignore it outright.

Have you ever asked someone who worked in a cigarette factory if they thought cigarettes were healthy? they will most likely ignore you, change the subject, deny it, or say 'well I am just trying to make a living, I don't smoke myself'. The GNU software authors are similar.. as soon as anything about freedom is brought up they mumble nonsense like 'GNU is about free speech, not free cost, you idiot'. Where's my free binaries.. as in free speech.. free mouse.. being able to click the download and get the binary freely, without having to restrictively compile it first...

A lot of people at the end of reading this article will probably say:

  but GNU software is about free speech, not cost
If that is what you are thinking right now at the end of this article.. then you have missed my point entirely. The point of this article is exactly that! GNU software is supposed to be about free speech.. but it is not. GNU software causes the author to charge money for the speech.. since the source code is free. Not always.. but most often if someone has to put bread on the table, then the GNU software has to be restricted in some way. It's recursively funny that GNU restricts speech... hey, he's just trying to make a living. Even if he contradicts all his own philosophies.

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