Rethinking my beef with proprietary software

When I wrote my previous post titled "Why I Use Ubuntu", I made a statement that after some reflection I feel is just plain wrong and to be honest, does not make much sense. Although I appreciate all of you not pouncing on it, it has started to bug me and the more I thought about the more I realized just how dumb it read.

"My beef is not with proprietary software as much as it is with outrageous pricing and no access to the code to make it work for you."

It would be accurate to say my beef is not with selling software but the whole second part of that sentence is indeed what proprietary software really is, at least today and for as many years as I can remember.

I guess it would be more accurate to say I have no problem with someone or a company selling their software but I do have a problem with outrageous pricing. I also like the idea of someone or a company who has spent good money on a piece of software being able to make it do the job it was purchased for. Nor do I have no problem with restrictions on selling someone else's work, but at least let people make the software work for them.

Maybe it is the nature of proprietary software that has led to companies like Microsoft being able to patent the shutting down of an operating system. Maybe if we as a society had never allowed or embraced this silly notion of paying for the ability to borrow software, such bogus software patents would not even exist.

Paid software borrowing brings up another aspect of the software economy. It really is paying to borrow software. Some of you might think it is more like leasing, but I would argue that leasing is just different enough that borrowing is more accurate. Also, it's not really renting since when you rent you are still renting from someone who owns the product and can do with it as they wish. For me I just can't help but consider it paying to borrow something and it does just seem silly. It's one thing for me to borrow your lawn mower, it's another thing for you to let me borrow your lawn mower but charge me $1200 to do so. Both would have the same restrictions of who owns the mower and maybe even how it should be used and that you could ask for it back at any time, but the latter one includes you making a killing loaning out your mower. I am guessing none of us would think its right to charge our neighbor $1200 to "borrow" our mower. We might think it's fair to replace the fuel used or pay to sharpen the blade, etc. but for anything more it would just seem like screwing over your neighbor. I guess maybe proprietary software is just that, screwing over the very people you want to be your user base.