Monday, 18 March 2013

Free - as in beer?

A friend on a non-mountain biking forum (the second fastest declining forum) had me thinking about my aversion to paying for software.

It's curious, but I don't mind doing so for business use, but hate to do so for home use. When it comes to work, generally I'll live with the same setup for a long time 'getting my moneys worth' I guess. At home things have been much less stable in terms of applications, and early on I had a lot of different programs (they weren't called apps then) to try that never seemed any good - PC Mag CD culture I guess. So although the applications I was able to evaluate that way worked, they mostly seemed like junk, and if I'd actually had to pay for them I'd have been pretty miffed (an example would be Serif for DTP - unstable and buggy, M$ word was a lot better simply because it didn't keep falling over). At the time I never had a problem paying for the PC games I played, but there never seemed a reason to pay for applications for 'doing stuff' when tools that were just as good and sometimes better were available free on the internet.

There's also the freetard counter-culture that I find myself drawn to, even if there's a side of me that is repelled by it. It isn't particularly simply being able to get stuff for no money (and I won't pirate software, music and films) but the whole ethos of the 'computer hobbyist' who does what they do for kudos instead of cash really appeals. This is how I am at work too, and will happily offer other people knowledge and advice for nothing where I'm able.

So it's a bit more complex that just wanting stuff for free as in beer, although that doesn't do any harm either. And we all use and enjoy 'free' stuff too, don't we?

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