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2006-08-16 Free Software Is For Student

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Today, I met at work a commercial representative asking us how they could enhance their proprietary product. The product is a Content Management System but this is not really important. My first idea for the enhancement was to ask them to release the software as free software. But the answer was not really compatible with the overall theme of the meeting. My main request to them is to support MySQL as a datastore, the application supports a larget set of proprietary Database and sqlite for testing. We are using various MySQL installation for different production and development systems. The funny part was the answer from the commercial representative : "Supporting a database only used by universites… no way". I was astonished by the answer. Are we living in 2006 ? Does he know that mysql is used everywhere ? The counter joke, why not supporting database used by universities ? What's the conclusion of that. Promoting or using Free Software is not really a matter of using the correct arguments (Mainly in non-technical meeting). It's just a matter of perception. A lot of software buyers are not relying on technical or usuability questions… but just name or perception of support from the vendor. When a vendor is coming and asking to you for the possible enhancement in their products, they are often just giving a perception of support. Don't expect too much from a proprietary vendor… with free software, you know what you have and if you have time, just implement what you want. That's so simple to work with free software, you don't have to make meeting for asking potential or vaporware enhancement… you can actively create with free software not with proprietary software.