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As we all get more and more irritated by the crowd sourced imagery that newspapers and magazines are using, and the fact that these people are willing to give their work away for free or next to nothing, I was thinking of how guilty am I of using other such services and the people in those areas who are willing to give their skills away for free.

 

I am a user of a lot of opensource software. I use Open Office, not Word or WordPerfect. I have a free PDF creator.

 

My dog website uses opensource e-commerce software that I didn't pay a penny for.

 

And when I wanted to have a tabbed description filed in my product listings, I asked on the bulletin board on how to do it.

 

One of the contributors spent two days with me emailing back and forth changing php pages and stylesheets to get my tabbed description field working. He wouldn't take any payment, not even a free dog collar.

 

So I could have bought my software. Payed a programmer to make the changes.

 

So really, aren't we all guilty in one way or another of taking "food off of the table" of another field or skill as they too have the people willing to offer the skills for free?

 

Jill

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Not everyone thinks the same as us. I don't know how many times I've fixed laptops for folk, free or in exchange for Jack Daniels. I recon that it's likely going to land on my desk at some point so best to fix it first. 

 

The media consistently crowdsource on a huge scale. Look at Guardian Witness for example. People upload their stuff there willy nilly. For instance today, why would a publication pay someone, when there's so many pics of the eclipse? They are obviously happy to use utter rubbish if it's free. Nothing wrong with using open source. That's what it's for. Open Source is there to stick it to the man. 

 

It would be a different story if you were pleading poverty at the doors of software companies and they were giving you stuff on that basis. 

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There is a general idea that open source software is created by idealistic programmers in their spare time, but this is not the case. There might be a few here and there but most open source software developers are paid professionals. The contributor helping you out for 'free' might very well be paid to do that. A small part of my own job includes helping out people on a public forum who use my employer's software. It pays much better than photography ;-)

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There is a general idea that open source software is created by idealistic programmers in their spare time, but this is not the case. There might be a few here and there but most open source software developers are paid professionals. The contributor helping you out for 'free' might very well be paid to do that. A small part of my own job includes helping out people on a public forum who use my employer's software. It pays much better than photography ;-)

 

But I am sure they paid for your employer's software. I didn't pay anything for mine. 

 

But by giving away their software, they are doing the same as the photographer who gives away their images. It affects others in the field that don't want to give their work away.

 

Jill

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There is a general idea that open source software is created by idealistic programmers in their spare time, but this is not the case. There might be a few here and there but most open source software developers are paid professionals. The contributor helping you out for 'free' might very well be paid to do that. A small part of my own job includes helping out people on a public forum who use my employer's software. It pays much better than photography ;-)

 

But I am sure they paid for your employer's software. I didn't pay anything for mine. 

 

But by giving away their software, they are doing the same as the photographer who gives away their images. It affects others in the field that don't want to give their work away.

 

Jill

 

 

No they don't pay for the software itself, it's open source. Helping out non-paying users greatly enhances the chances of them becoming paying customers.

 

You can't compare open source software to giving away photography. You can base a successful business model on open source software because you can make money by providing development skills, technical support, training, legal indemnification etc. With photography you can do a paid assignment but once the end product is there you stop making money. With (open source) software on the other hand, once a customer starts using it, that's where you start making money.

Edited by NielsVK
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There is a general idea that open source software is created by idealistic programmers in their spare time, but this is not the case. There might be a few here and there but most open source software developers are paid professionals. The contributor helping you out for 'free' might very well be paid to do that. A small part of my own job includes helping out people on a public forum who use my employer's software. It pays much better than photography ;-)

 

But I am sure they paid for your employer's software. I didn't pay anything for mine. 

 

But by giving away their software, they are doing the same as the photographer who gives away their images. It affects others in the field that don't want to give their work away.

 

Jill

 

 

No they don't pay for the software itself, it's open source. Helping out non-paying users greatly enhances the chances of them becoming paying customers.

 

You can't compare open source software to giving away photography. You can base a successful business model on open source software because you can make money by providing development skills, technical support, training, legal indemnification etc. With photography you can do a paid assignment but once the end product is there you stop making money. With (open source) software on the other hand, once a customer starts using it, that's where you start making money.

 

 

But I am getting the tech support for free, there is no paid upgraded version of the software. So how is the company making any money from me? Everything has been free.

 

 

 

My dog website uses opensource e-commerce software that I didn't pay a penny for.

 

And when I wanted to have a tabbed description filed in my product listings, I asked on the bulletin board on how to do it.

 

One of the contributors spent two days with me emailing back and forth changing php pages and stylesheets to get my tabbed description field working. He wouldn't take any payment, not even a free dog collar.

 

So I could have bought my software. Payed a programmer to make the changes.

 

Jill

 

 

Just a thought... if you had paid a programmer would you have spent two days emailing back and forth? Maybe the programmer would have solved the problem quicker than you can say labradoodle and saved you a whole lot of time.

 

 

But the guy helping me is also spending two days emailing back and forth. His expertise. He is giving that away to me for free, as well as teaching me how to do this myself. The more I do, the more I learn how to edit my php pages. So although I am taking time, I am also being educated on how and where to make changes.

 

Jill

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You have to see it in a larger context. Companies providing commercial services around open source software benefit from building and maintaining a large user base and a healthy community around that software. They don't necessarily expect to make money of an individual user maintaining a dog website. But a Fortune 500 company looking to replace its e-commerce software and spend lots of $$$ on consultancy, training etc. will only consider an open source offering if the ecosystem around it is alive and healthy. Compare it to marketing your business: the activity itself is not billable to any customer, but it's still worth doing because it increases the chance of getting new customers.

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