Comment on "Free Software Needs Free Tools"

In June 2010, Benjamin Mako Hill published his article "Free Software needs Free Tools". In this article he claims that developers of Open Source Free Software should stop using proprietary services like GitHub, Google Code etc. because they don't follow the same Creed of Freedom as the developers of Open Source software do.

The first big question we have to ask ourselves is: If we should not use their services to host our code, run our unit tests (e.g. on Travis CI), then where else should we store it? As often said, the best things in life are free, as are GitHub etc. for Open Source Projects. They obviously have to make profit at some point, which they do with their premium services. They can't Open Source their product because then no one will be using their preemium services, which should be clear.

Hosting a custom server is expensive. If we choose to use a VPS we only shifted the problem backwards because the VPS-Provider again won't open source his whole architecture. Hosting on a bare-metal server at someones home moves the problem from the Open Source Software to the Open Source Hardware problem (though one could argue about that because we are all using proprietary computers).

All in all, one could go on with this discussion for a long time. The thing is that at some point, one has to stop worrying about using proprietary service because in the end, it is inevitable anyways. And why should we stop right at the beginning then, before we have to start relying on donations to work on the software we need and want to develop (in the end, we all do it because of fun, admit it!)

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Jan-Henrik Bruhn

Im Wesentlichen beschäftige ich mich hobbymäßig mit der Informatik. Kann man dann auch studieren, erstmal muss aber Abi. Das sollte man machen, mach ich auch (so wie es jetzt aussieht zumindest).