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Open Source Piracy Software The Almighty Buck IT

BSA Study Demonstrates Open Source's Economic Advantage 87

jrepin writes "The fundamental premise of the latest Software Alliance study — that licensed, proprietary software is better in many ways than pirated copies — actually applies to open source software even more strongly, with the added virtues that the software is free to try, to use and to modify. That means the potential economic impact of free software is also even greater than that offered by both licensed and unlicensed proprietary software. It's yet another reason for governments around the world to promote the use of open source in their countries by everyone at every level."
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BSA Study Demonstrates Open Source's Economic Advantage

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  • Can't go there (Score:5, Insightful)

    by onyxruby ( 118189 ) <<ten.tsacmoc> <ta> <yburxyno>> on Tuesday May 28, 2013 @02:37PM (#43843195)

    Sorry, just because the message is one that some might like I can't get past the messenger. The BSA has spent decades lying to the public and politicians and using math that would never pass muster in any college in the developed world. They have lost any and all possible credibility they could ever possibly have, especially when it comes to on of their 'reports'.

    I'm sure this will offend a lot of people here that are open source fans who would love to cite this. However I'm not about to become a hypocrite and give them credibility now just because they are saying something more palatable.

    • I think in this case, people are pointing out their conclusions also apply to free software.

      I don't believe the BSA is suddenly saying free software is good for the economy, that's someone else's conclusions.

      • I think in this case, people are pointing out their conclusions also apply to free software.

        I don't believe the BSA is suddenly saying free software is good for the economy, that's someone else's conclusions.

        Software is good for the economy, whether it is free or not. When it comes to businesses (the B in BSA), no software is without cost. Businesses buy support contracts and some may even pay third parties for training. The support contracts in particular pay for a lot of free software development.

    • Re:Can't go there (Score:4, Insightful)

      by whoever57 ( 658626 ) on Tuesday May 28, 2013 @02:48PM (#43843283) Journal

      Sorry, just because the message is one that some might like I can't get past the messenger.

      In this case, the messenger is someone with degrees in mathematics pointing out how flawed the BSA's figures are. So you might find it interesting to go there.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Actually the article basically says, "The BSA says non-pirated software is better, and Open Source Software isn't pirated, and it costs even less, so Open Source Software is a hell of a lot better!"

      • Actually the article basically says, "The BSA says non-pirated software is better, and Open Source Software isn't pirated, and it costs even less, so Open Source Software is a hell of a lot better!"

        That doesn't follow, just because something is cheaper doesn't make it better, not to mention that 'Free Software' is centered around Freedom not Free-of-charge yet many governments tout the license cost savings in monetary terms rather than any aspect of Freedom. The whole Free and Open Source Software movement is being sold on cost rather than what it was actually designed for so it's no wonder the software industry hasn't rushed to embrace it wholeheartedly, you can't sell it on being free of charge and

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Wow, what an amazingly stupid reply. You really think that the BSA actually endorses free software! My god the stupidity it blinds!

  • by jellomizer ( 103300 ) on Tuesday May 28, 2013 @02:46PM (#43843267)

    In reality one should support anti-piracy and open source systems.
    With the following understandings...
    Some Software Projects can be better maintained and designed using a priority software model. Sometime to get it done, the incentive of money is the best way.
    Some Software Projects can be done better with Open Source. The project is interesting enough to have enough supporters to keep it going.
    There are some projects the license doesn't matter much.

    These ideas are not really in conflict it is only pig headed nuts who try to make them seem that way. When choosing software there are a lot of factors to consider. Sometime those thousand dollar license fees, or the freedom to alter source code are least of your concern, compared to getting support, and hiring staff proficient in the software, or just general product quality.

    However whatever license you choose for your software it is important that you try to follow it. If you have say a GNU license, you better make sure you don't accidentally let some of that code slip into your own product, by some naive developer or manager who think GNU = Public Domain. In the same vein you need to make sure your commercial license are equally maintained, as you have already weight the good and the bad and chosen your product and you should take what you expect.

    Piracy of commercial software is bad, it is just as bad as taking a GNU product and relicensing it, without the appropriate permission. Making software take a lot of time and resources. Just to toss the software creators license aside, will only make things worse.

  • My question to the submitter is, why must the government do the promotion? In what way does this have any relation to the daily lives of citizens and businesses?

    • by UnknownSoldier ( 67820 ) on Tuesday May 28, 2013 @03:05PM (#43843391)

      Because Governments are supposed to be stewards for the country. They should be looking at the _long_ term. By setting a good example they show that they actually give a dam about spending efficiently instead of justifying mercenary assassination for "things" such as oil, power, control, etc.

      There is a reason we have _standards_ in the first place: So we don't force everyone to keep wasting energy re-inventing the wheel. Open Source has it own set of problems (usually poor documentation) but the ROI on it is a major advantage when governments routinely spend other people's money. For using software that follows the standards we keep the vendor's implementation honest, and the money normally spent on licensing can be instead spent on hardware + people.

      Open Source _can_ make good business sense. By having governments use it whenever possible it "legitimizes" / removes the stigma from OSS. How long did it take Microsoft to wean off Hotmail off FreeBSD ?

      There are a lot of good OSS based on technical code quality. Of course there is also a lot of crap. But at least the difference is one can do a code audit and literally SEE the bugs in the code in contradistinction to closed source where you have no idea what kind of data they are selling behing the scenes.

      • Opinions differ as to what governments are supposed to be. Some, for instance, might claim that government are instituted among humans to safeguard certain inalienable rights.
        • Yup - agree 100% !

          Sadly, most people have forgotten the in-a-lien-able part, that is, not able to place a lien against basic fundamentals.

      • by Bengie ( 1121981 )
        The problem is GPL. Linux is popular. Yes, the government is big enough that they could issue their own fixes, but any work that the government does MUST be compatible with public domain because it is tax payer money paying for that work. Guess what, GPL is not compatible. MIT/BSD/etc are.

        Want the government to use OpenSource, get rid of the restrictions on GPL.

        There are so many government funded research projects that start on BSD/etc because of the GPL restrictions. I guess that's helping BSD.
        • by Anonymous Coward

          This patches (the improvements) can be issued as public domain, the combination (with the original code) remains GPL. And, there is no problem using GPL code. Is this not clear?

          • by Bengie ( 1121981 )
            Modifications to GPL must remain GPL, so unless the government is not working with GPL code, how could they know how to create the patch in the first place?
            • by Xtifr ( 1323 )

              Modifications to a GPL-licensed program must be released under terms that allow the modified work as a whole continue to be licensed under the GPL. Any GPL-compatible license makes this possible, including the public domain.

              • by Bengie ( 1121981 )
                When someone makes a branch, does some changes, then submits the diff via git, what license is that patch under? I assume that git doesn't explicitly attach a licence agreement to every diff submitted.

                Then that begs the question. If by default, all patches do not have a licence, are they assumed to be public domain? Assuming all of these patches are public domain, if I take enough patches going back far enough, I will have pretty much the entire source-code. This means I could just aggregate the patches
  • by CAIMLAS ( 41445 ) on Tuesday May 28, 2013 @03:09PM (#43843421) Homepage

    While I do not disagree, in principle, with the conclusion in OP, you can hardly trust the conclusion of something the BSA publishes - which is less of a study than it is an argument for software licensing made up after the conclusion was reached to support their point.

  • Commercial software offers someone to pin liability claims against if there are problems and loss incurred as a result. Open Source basically turns that around and make it the user's responsibility. Hey, you had the source code, why didn't you look at it? From a business perspective, it's easier to be able to have a vendor to blame and sue for software issues than for the business to say that we'll take responsibility for adoption and use of said software and take on any liability from such use.

    it's simi

    • by Todd Knarr ( 15451 ) on Tuesday May 28, 2013 @03:36PM (#43843709) Homepage

      How does commercial software give you anyone to pin liability on? All of it that I've seen either disclaims liability entirely or limits liability to refunding your money (even from major vendors like Oracle it reads like "if it breaks, you get to keep both pieces"). You definitely won't be able to hold the vendor liable for the cost of lost business due to the failure of their software. Sure it gives you someone to blame, but you're still left holding the bag when it comes to the actual money the failure cost you. At least with open-source software, if the failure's bad enough the business can put it's own resources to work fixing it. Contrast that with commercial software where the business has no choice but to sit and wait for the vendor to decide the problem's important enough for the vendor to fix it.

      • by mlts ( 1038732 ) * on Tuesday May 28, 2013 @04:10PM (#43844019)

        This is not a knock against the quality of F/OSS. However, I can take a piece of commercial software and show auditors that it is FIPS or Common Criteria certified, which is important for the legal eagles, especially with regs like Sarbanes-Oxley, FERPA, PCI-DSS, and other items.

        Say something like a downed production machine or a security breach causes an audit, and the bug that caused it was within the OS or application:

        Scenario 1: The software is shown to be commercial, with the pretty ribbons showing it was certified (AES library is officially certified by NIST), etc. Logs were shown that updates were pushed out on schedule, and that there was an IDS/IPS system in place. The auditors find that shit happens, due diligence was done, and head home.

        Scenario 2: The software used is solid, but doesn't have the certifications. Even proof of everything well maintained by IT, they go in and report findings that it was "from an untrusted/unknown vendor with an unknown security reputation". Then someone gets sacked because something has to be done or else the company may lose its ability to process credit cards or have the SEC step in.

        These certifications have nothing to do with the software's actual security. However, there is a big difference between secure in the eyes of the law and the auditors (CYA), versus actual security.

        This is the same exact reason why antivirus software goes on the Solaris, Linux, and AIX machines... not because they will get infected, but so the legal department can tick a check box saying that "all servers have AV software present."

  • by Anonymous Coward

    First they're allowing gays, now they're looking into free software... the Tea Party is really gonna flip out now.

  • Most of the pointy haired types and politicians who will be shown the BSA study will never read past the Executive Summary on page 1, many will not even do that and will just look at the difference in height of the blue and brown bars labeled $53 Billion Additional Value. There are a few pages with impressive phrases like Macroeconomic Analysis and tables with lots of numbers -- so it must all be well researched and thus true.

    Glyn Moody -- who is he ? Do they read technical articles ?

    The important readers are the politicians; protecting against piracy is obviously the right thing to do ... and for those not convinced a donation to a favoured cause will help convince that the guys showing the report are sincere.

    My point is that if you think that a detailed deconstruction of the study is the right way to expose this: then you are deluded. Properly presented reports showing the other case is a better way - but much harder since OSS does not have the money to ensure that the correct message is understood. Not impossible: just harder.

Today is a good day for information-gathering. Read someone else's mail file.