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You might know I'm an hybrid kind of guy: I run Free Software as much as I can, but if I have to run proprietary software to have something that works, and that pays the bills, I will. Lately, I'm getting more and more irked by the “Free Software Fundamentalists” that preach that no proprietary software has the right to exist any longer.
The free software community understands that free software gives the user more freedom than proprietary software. Proprietary software confines its users, prohibits them from making changes that would allow everyone to benefit, etc. Free software advocates (myself included) have a habit of claiming that using free (libre) software means the same thing as having freedom.
There has been this argument in the community for a while that using some non-free software to further the Free Software advocacy might be a useful thing. As an example say you have a graphics card that there is no Free Software driver for. Then using a proprietary driver and therefore being able to use a mostly free software OS becomes justifiable.
Free software is software you can study, modify and share without restriction. But unlike proprietary software, there is no big budget marketing campaign behind it. Rather, people discover it and come to value the freedom it provides. What are these people's motivations for working on free software? Why is community and sharing so important? Why should everyone be using free software?
"Today we have what we didn't have 20 years ago - powerful enemies," Stallman said. Large companies have the means and motivation to lobby Congress and devise laws to prohibit the free distribution of software, he said.
Okay so I think we can all agree that proprietary software shouldn't be promoted by the FOSS community. It also seems to be acceptable to promote the use of free software applications on proprietary OSes. So why is there a problem with promoting the use of proprietary applications on free OSes?
"I am a supporter and user of free software (though I admit I have not migrated entirely). I research and write about the social movement aspect of free software, and its potential as a model for alternative social organization beyond the realm of software development. I am inspired by the future envisioned by free software and take heart from its existence here and now.
"Over the last few years, I’ve come to accept the fact that regardless of my attempts to quit this job, I am fundamentally a programmer. I wrote a book about security, I am the Editor In Chief of Free Software Magazine, but in the end I am still just a programmer. A lucky one, I must admit. Until last month, I had been blessed by the fact that either the software I wrote was owned by somebody else after a short contract (and therefore it didn’t matter to me once I had completed it: somebody else eventually took it over), or that what I programmed had been created just for myself (I was the only user of the software… bliss!). This changed when I became a free software programmer. I have recently released what I consider an important project: Drigg.