January 19, 2017

The StartX Files: Between the Sheets with Quattro Pro

Free As In Continuity

  • February 1, 2002
  • By Brian Proffitt

I have come to respect Richard Stallman and the FSF more and more in this, the early 21st Century.

I do not always agree with RMS and rarely do I think his methodology is something that works. He and I have exchanged a few e-mail messages, and I think he is one of those people who truly believes he's got it right and come Hell or high water, he's going to spread the word. So, I try very hard to listen to what he has to say, even if in the end I don't always agree with him.

But one thing I will always agree upon: there is a clear and definite need for free software or something like it in the world today.

I could also point to Eric Raymond and hold up his Open Source Software movement and say "yep, that's something we need, too." This may seem contradictory, but I don't think the two movements, Free and Open Source, are necessarily exclusive. I think they are two ways of approaching a greater good: reducing the amount of proprietary software out there in the world.

Like many computer users, I started using proprietary software long before I ever heard of the GPL or Open Source. I used it because it was available, and I never gave any thought to the license, except that I knew it was not a good idea to advertise the fact that I was passing around copies of some of that software.

When I started using Linux, many foundations of how I used and managed computers were shaken apart, leaving me with a new sense of how Computers Ought To Be. In my vision, there was a balanced world where users could pick and choose their software based on application capabilities and license. If a proprietary tool was what worked the best, then that would be the product they used. If a user wanted nothing but GPL software, then they could exercise their choice and choose software with that license.

I was a non-exclusive software user. I used what worked best for me, and that was it. I held no beef against the proprietary licensors of the world. If that was how they wanted to do business, then it was fine by me. There was plenty of room in the pool.

Then, about a year ago, that all slowly started to change.

Now, a year later, I'm a little bitter about proprietary licenses.

Now, I miss Quatro Pro.

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