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"The culture of entitlement is starting to damage the open source community," says OpenBSD founder Theo de Raadt. Gee, you think?

Sometimes I wonder what's going through the minds of people like de Raadt. Where is the logic in giving something away for free, then getting pissed when nobody gives you money for it? I've released a few things under the GPL in my time, though nothing as substantive as an operating system. I didn't do it to make the world better, and I didn't expect anything in exchange for it. I did it because there was no compelling reason not to. Theo has a pretty compelling reason, he has an entire operating system that could be worth quite a bit of money if it were commercial, and there are quite a few people that use and adore it.

It's funny how open source licenses like the GPL and BSD license were created to level the playing field between free code and commercial code, yet in the final analysis, it actually devalues the free code. It has become literally worthless.

What troubles me isn't that OpenBSD is in trouble, it's that OpenSSH may also be in trouble. The world doesn't care about OpenBSD, but it does rely heavily on OpenSSH for secure remote management. I would happily see OpenBSD sacrificed so that OpenSSH keeps going; an operating system dies so that an application lives, because there is no good replacement for OpenSSH. There are many good alternatives to OpenBSD, FreeBSD and Linux (of which there are far too many distributions) come to mind.

Is entitlement damaging the open source community? No. It's own ignorance is. They spend a serious amount of time and effort on their projects, then give them away for free, and then come to the sudden realization that working for free sucks. If you are just now coming to this conclusion, you deserve the headache. If you want money, sell the crap and quit crying about it.
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The text of this article is Copyright © 2006,2007 Paul William Tenny. All rights reserved. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License. Attribution by: full name and original URL. Comments are copyrighted by their authors and are not subject to the Creative Commons license of the article itself.