“Giving Back” Instead of Paying for Licences

One of the neat things about FLOSS (Free/Libre Open Source Software) is that instead of paying for licences, using organizations have better options:

  • hiring people to develop the software, thus maximizing features desirable for the organization and feeding the local economy, and
  • supporting the people who develop the software in other ways.

With LibreOffice, which is software useful for many organizations and individuals around the world for producing, changing and presenting documents of many kinds, look who is giving back:

  • The City of Munich is providing a venue and facilities for the LibreOffice Hackfest 2011, and
  • DBI Gmbh is providing food and beverages for the LibreOffice Hackfest 2011

We all know The City of Munich is in the process of migrating the majority of its PCs to GNU/Linux and has migrated all its employees to OpenOffice.org. DBI Gmbh is a business that provides IT services especially software migration. These are two examples of organizations giving back to the FLOSS community to make better software for the world.

see LibreOffice Hackfest 2011 in Munich

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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2 Responses to “Giving Back” Instead of Paying for Licences

  1. I saw the little green robot all over Walmart.

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  2. Contrarian says:

    This is the sort of motherhood and apple pie piece that just screams for a counter point of view, pogson! Consider that, in your worst case scenario, only 1% of the computer users in the world are using Linux, but that is 10 million or more individuals. A handful of names appear on the Linux developer roles in any regular fashion and only thousands have ever appeared. That would mean, using the simple kind of math you prefer, that less than one in a thousand users of Linux actually give anything back in the way of things that further the state of the art.

    If some Kraut Linux user group buys another user a beer and bratwurst, it hardly qualifies as any “giving back” to the “community”.

    If you look at the fundamental proposition, i.e. that open source engenders a comon weal of funtionality that mutually benefits all the contributors, you find it to be an unworkable strategy in any sort of mass market. The essence of competition is comparative advantage and that requires that suppliers be able to effectively differentiate their products from their competitor’s product.

    In the case of a software product such as MS Office the entire product definition, differentiation and all, is embedded in the code. If you sell the same code, you sell the same product. No competition there. So there is no need for any such open software to be shared by those in such a business.

    In the case of apparatus such as a PC or a tablet or a smart phone, the differentiation occurs in the style, performance capacity, and price of the device purchased by the consumer. Many phones use Android today, but they are not sold as “Android phone”, they are sold as “Galaxy”, “Evo”, etc., with various manufacturers struggling to build some brand identity.

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