12 Jan 2012

Dont be gung-ho on the notion of "Free"

With the immense amount of traction in the open source fraternity and the availability of free tools for almost any task - its become a standard notion nowadays that software should be a free commodity.

My two cents - Though I believe strongly in open sourcing certain solutions - I also believe that open-source need not necessarily translate to free as in "free beer". Like any other commodity, building software also requires effort & expenditure and there is nothing wrong if someone wants to charge for their hard work. Of course passionate folks would want to distribute it for free in the interest of serving the community at large - its a great thing to do. However that should not mean that someone doing the same work somewhere else doesn't have a right to charge for their labor of love.

What prompted this chain of thought was a contradiction in terms of two opinions on the subject of photo sharing. It started with "This Photo is Not Free" where John Mueller puts up a passionate pitch against using his photo for just credit. Responses were bound to come in and they did - "This Photo is Free" from a passionate contributor to Wikimedia Commons.

Many of my friends in the photo community have complained about their snaps being used without their knowledge and as a result they have ended up watermarking them. Its a losing game though.If you feel your snap deserves to be sold or copyrighted don't put it up online. Watermarked or not - they will be airbrushed and used anyway. Else take the other approach - be magnanimous and put it out for all under a creative license.

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