The definition of open source? Why should it be free?

This is the giving its explanation of what is “Open Source”.

Since the site is basically the word “Open Source” itself. I believe what it says can be considered the way open-source is, has been, and will be.


What could be the motives or reasons for someone to claim and spread the idea that “Open Source SHOULD be FREE”? And therefore everything within this Open-Source ecosystem should also be FREE?

Just curious, after a long dragged out shit battle that just refuses to end.

#Edit. Glad it ended.

Could you please clarify what you mean by FREE in those questions of yours? Free as in “beer” or free as in “speech”?

If you don’t make this clear, be prepared for another shit battle circling around this very misunderstanding.

  • Well imo, money and big companies have created an imbalance in humanity. They now have monetary power and political power. They invent and fix rules that serve only their interests. And the poor are increasingly poor and their numbers are rising. It also generates more ignorance in people. This is why we need alternative systems and open source is one of them.

That being said I don’t care about paid addons, if they worth the money I will buy them. If it doesn’t worth the money I don’t buy it and look somewhere else…

I’m not sure what you meant by “beer” and “speech”. But let’s say “beer”.

I agree money has always been troublesome.

A major misunderstanding concerning OSS is that it has to be “free as in (free) beer”, meaning it has to come at no cost (like a gratis beer). “Free as in (free) speech” on the other hand doesn’t deal with financial matters at all, but is about what you are allowed to do with the software. So, the idiom “free as in beer or free as in speech” actually alludes to the difference between “freedom of charge” and “freedom of use” and the need to clarify which meaning of the word “free” is intended.

I’m still not sure what you were actually asking about in your OP…
OSS software having to be gratis? Or OSS vs. FOSS with regard to OSS licensing?

Those two are completely different discussions. Hence you will have to make clear what you mean by “free” in your question…

I can be sure what I want to know is not about OSS vs FOSS with regard to OSS licensing. The person who claimed “Open Source should be free” had a clear message as that Open Source software should be gratis. And IMO, it doesn’t have to be gratis, and the addons/plugins inside the OSS’s ecosystem also doesn’t have to be gratis. (#Edited: Does FOSS make any difference though? Since Blender is FOSS.)

So I want to know what could be the possible reasons and motives for one to actively encouraging other people to think like so. And when people do think that way, what happens to Blender?

Well, one might argue that “freedom” has a theoretical and a practical side:
Being free to do with a piece of software whatever you like becomes meaningless if the price for that software is so high that only a few can afford it. And even a comparatively small fee for a piece of software will exclude millions of users from low-income countries, heck, almost any price-barrier will effectively stop a certain amount of people from being able to access and use the code.

Being FOSS, I understand this argument for Blender as a standalone software. But what about the sub-organisms living inside the ecosystem of Blender’s FOSS principle? For example, blender’s paid addons, do they challenge Blender’s FOSS principle? If so, why?

And, from a moral standpoint, if one has put in effort and work, why is it “wrong” to ask for compensation up front?

For the record: I did not say that this is my opinion, just playing the devil’s advocate here. I’m all with you about achievement having to be worthwhile - even financially.

But if you search through this forum regarding paid addons, you will find many with a very strong opinion about everything Blender related having to be gratis… Just saying.

I understand, and did not mean to imply that you said anything to invoke my questions. And thank you for the advice. :slight_smile:

you’re free to do whatever with it, so indirectly even if it was payed for, it then can be distributed for no payment
free choice

There is no “should” as far as I’m concerned. If you create it you determine for yourself if a price will be attached. And it’s not something I would personally grumble about because there’s nothing inherently wrong with it. I recognise no requirement, or argument, to keep open source content free, unless the creator expressly wishes it.

If we’re forcing the “free” element of open source, in the economical sense, then I don’t think it’s very “free” in the philosophical sense.

It’s not wrong to ask for compensation but you don’t deserve compensation just for releasing something, meaning it’s up to other people if they want to buy your addon or not. If it’s not free less people are interested and those who are interested will compare it with free or cheaper alternatives before buying it. This means that your addon actually has to be better than the alternatives, at least for it to be profitable (or people will just use the free/cheaper one).

Personally when buying a Blender addon I will ask the author to fix issues I found with it (again, to make it better). I think you’re entitled to some level of support when buying something like an addon. That way it’s not just compensation for the addon author but also to the customers of the addon which makes the community stronger. For free addons I’m more likely to let issues slide/fix them myself. That being said I have nothing against free addons.

That’s a reasonable position though. You make a choice. But you’re not expecting that it should be free simply because it’s open source. And yes. It’s reasonable to expect it to work as advertised if there’s a fee involved. If you make addons that don’t work. Or work poorly you’re unlikely to get repeat business.

For free addons I’m more likely to let issues slide/fix them myself. That being said I have nothing against free addons.

I don’t think there’s anyone out there that has a problem with free content. Which is why they aren’t complaining about it. But there are those that don’t seem to think an author should have a choice. That anything released as open source should be economically free. That seems to be the point of contention.

Open source != free. Open source gives you (the end user) access to the source code and the permission to change the source code. Open source itself says nothing about distribution cost or distribution rights (eg copyright).

Most major open source licences encourage no-cost products.
Consider ‘source development kits’ for various game engines. The often cost money, you’re not allowed to distribute the source, but they are, in one sense, open source licenses in that they give you access to the code.

The GPL (blenders license) is a beautiful piece of art that is a ‘hack’ (old fashioned sense) of the copyright system. It uses this to become parasitic and impossible (or nearly so) to remove. Indeed, this feature has kept companies from developing their own version, instead getting them to contribute into blender itself. It does not prevent sale, and if you read up on it and understand it, you’ll probably start using it for your projects…

Paid software comes with the illusion of support, free software doesn’t. That is the only difference other than cost. That or you pay as a donation to the author - before you’ve even used it.
In my opinion, there will be a culture shift in ten or twenty years resulting in most software having (restricted) free licenses.
I would like to see sunch an open an honest culture such that everything is free, but everyone pays what they think the product is worth. But that is either centuries away or a pipe dream.

The term that I prefer to use is, “cooperative development.”

Computer software is anything but “free.” In fact, it’s one of the most expensive things on Earth. Many a company that is built on the proprietary model has gone onto the rocks of revenue, and has taken their otherwise-good product with them.

“Cooperative development” is predicated on the notion that a rising tide lifts all boats. Companies and individuals agree to cooperate, in an organized way, on the mutual development of a software product. They do so because, by law, the terms of their cooperation are protected. Everyone shares what they develop and is guaranteed access to what others have shared. No one can put a fence around the thing and start charging admission. Copyright licenses such as GPL have been tested and upheld in courts around the world. They have teeth. So, companies can participate, and the interests of their shareholders are still protected.

The process has been shown, many times over, to enable advancement of software development far beyond what could be achieved under the proprietary development model. It has been very successfully used to establish the foundations upon which other proprietary offerings can be staged and deployed. For instance, the proprietary OS/X (macOS) and iOS systems are built on top of (open source) Unix Darwin. And, nearly everything is compiled with the open-source gcc compiler suite.

You simply wouldn’t have much of the critical software upon which the Internet is built … without cooperative development models. No one could afford to do it (alone). Remember that Blender itself was basically rescued from a bankrupt company, and money changed-hands with the then-creditors to secure the intellectual property rights. “What happened next” is because of cooperative development being able to achieve what the proprietary model could not.

Anything online should be free. In the future we will act like one control system and it would be like asking yourself to pay when you can just download.

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Except it takes a lot of time and money to make an application (commercial companies often spend millions on R&D, development, marketing, and support). Even Blender is where it is today because of the hundreds of thousands of dollars put towards development over the years (so as to allow developers to work on the application full time instead of simply as a hobby).

It’s the same with all FOSS, the more successful solutions like Krita get enough donations to allow for paid development (even if it comprises just one developer).

Make everything on the internet free, and the consequences could include the innovation rate taking a nosedive and most (or all) of the smaller vendors going out of business (ie. the innovative and more consumer-friendly ones, the big corporations are capable of extracting money from customers by other means).

I do forsee a future where peoples needs are met by open source automations that they push updates, report bugs about etc.

I believe the future of our culture is earthships that produce their own power, water and food, and remediate their own waste water.

the internet could be a giant adhoc mesh net,

This way people can spend all day becoming educated and contributing to open source projects.

this way we live in balance with nature.

it may already be too late however…

For the people who knew that “Free” is the future, (including me)we unfortunately don’t live in the future.

We can say how the future is going to be, but please don’t expect everything today to be free. People need money to live, at the moment, and every kind of work should be properly compensated, whatever the compensation is.