Matt Asay Does Not Get Freedom

“In sum, while it can certainly be profitable to initially focus on commoditizing an old market, successful open-source vendors will be those that learn to enter newly minted markets or innovate their own. Otherwise they’ll be left standing on the charred remains of a dead or dying market, losers even as they win.”

According to Matt Asay setting the world Free amounts to “losing”. My pet market is the desktop. It may be a mature market but forever there will be a market for personal computing where individuals partake of creating, finding, modifying, storing and presenting information. Freedom in that market is important for billions of humans and their software and hardware. How is freeing that market losing? It is lazy business that insists on operating in a growing market only. Real businesses that work for a living can succeed in a mature market.

So, we see where the leadership of Ubuntu is going. They are trying to become the new M$, locking-in customers, persuing the mighty dollar at all costs to Freedom and abandoning the desktop to the dinosaur monopoly. How weak is that leadership that is so easily lead astray by the next shiny thing while abandoning human values? I will choose leadership with real values any day.

see “If you open source an old market, are you doomed to fail?/
Going down with a closed ship”

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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6 Responses to Matt Asay Does Not Get Freedom

  1. Adrian Malacoda says:

    Business may or may not be a necessity in society (it definitely is right now), but business is definitely not the end-all and be-all of society. Business is inherently amoral; in business, the only important things are to maximize revenue and minimize cost. Note that I didn’t say bad or evil, because this isn’t really “evil” (and anyone who thinks free software is about preaching the evils of capitalism needs to actually read about it some more). It’s common sense, actually.

    However, free software is a social movement first and foremost, and trying to treat it as a “market” is asking for trouble, because it is not a market (see: http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/words-to-avoid.html#Market ). This is what Mr. Asay does not “get.” The “software industry” is a relic of the proprietary software market, which is built on secrecy, artificial scarcity, and planned obsolescence. Free software does not operate at all like its proprietary counterpart; the “secrets” are spilled out in the open, everyone can help themselves to a copy, and it is never designed to work against the interests of the user.

    Mr. Asay and the rest of the “proprietary open source” school of thought are by no means “the hand that feeds.” The “hand that feeds” is the hand of GNU, Debian, etc. – the “impractical idealists” that the businessmen like to deride so much.

  2. Yonah says:

    Matt should follow up with an article entitled, “Robert Pogson does not get business.”

    A classic case of “biting the hand that feeds” if there ever was one.

  3. @Ray

    Matt Asay was COO of Canonical for a while. Apparently his opinions as stated in the quoted article somehow reflect the values/goals of Canonical. I doubt Ubuntu has a goal of locking-in users except by providing good value but Matt Asay seems to view not achieving lock-in as failure in a business. I find his philosophy horrific as a philosophy of doing business let alone anathema to Free Software.

    see arrival at Canonical

    see departure

  4. Adrian Malacoda says:

    I think people who bleat about “markets” and “profits” while ignoring real issues like autonomy and freedom shouldn’t even consider themselves part of the “open source” community, let alone the free software world. I’m personally glad Mr. Asay is gone from Canonical before he could have made lasting impact on it.

  5. Ray says:

    Ubuntu locks-in customers?

  6. Richard Chapman says:

    Well said Robert.

    When I take my dog for a walk, she does her “business”. There’s a reason it’s called that.

    Not so well said Richard, but no less true.

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