More Moralizing on Open Source Software

Yesterday’s post ended with a question: am I robbing a man if I accept from him what he insists on giving me in exchange or nothing? After a night’s rest, I think I have an answer.

No, I am not robbing him. He has his own motives for giving it away. If I reject what he offers because I think he is robbing himself, I am inposing my moral code on him, and denying him the opportunity live by his own. He has chosen to work for free to his own detriment (as I see it), but his welfare is his own concern, not mine.

If he chooses to offer me his work free-of-charge, the criteria for accepting it should be that of any other transaction: is the value of what he offers worth the price that he is asking? On such a basis, I need only refuse his offer if his work is worthless to me, or I can find more value for my money elsewhere.

So it seems to be alright to use Open Source Software. I can go back to using Vim.

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