Free Software (made with free software) – Computerphile

Free Software (made with free software) – Computerphile


Well the main difference between free software and other software is that other software is designed to put the developer in power and you as the user are kinda subjected to the power of the developer. What free software does, it kinda flips that on its head and says, well you as a user deserve the freedom to use your computer to do the things that you want to do. I’m Matt Lee, I’m the -now- technology lead at creative commons. My background is really in sort of free software. Uhh.. I used to work in the free software foundation for a long time. And I’m originally from the UK, but I now live in Boston in the United States. When we talk about free software we’re talking about software that’s free like free speech. And less so in the terms of free like a free beer or a free lunch with someone. And we’ve really kinda defined free software as having four characteristics. The first characteristic, freedom zero, is the freedom to run the program, for any purpose. Freedom one, is the freedom to modify the program. Freedom two, is the freedom to Uhh.. Share the program. And freedom three is the freedom to share modified versions of the program. And if you have those four freedoms, you have free software. If you have one of those freedoms missing, Or two of those freedoms missing, you are not using free software. A good example of that would be something like iTunes. People think, “Well iTunes is free, I can download it from Apple’s website.” And it’s like, well that’s true, you can get it from Apple’s website, but it’s not free software. Because first of all, you can’t run iTunes for any purpose. That document that you never read, when you click “I agree”, says, quite explicitly, you can’t use it for a lot of reasons. Apple takes things like, they’ll make changes to iTunes when they find problems with their encryption scheme and DRM software. And they will just force those restrictions on users of iTunes, so the next time they open iTunes, it will refuse to do anything until you upgrade. And so, They are heavily restricting what you can and can’t do with their software. If it was free software, anyone could improve iTunes and give it to anyone they wanted to. And they could use it to help other people but as it stands right now, only Apple can kinda make changes to iTunes. And therefore, we leave all of the users of iTunes without help. Without the ability to use software with freedom. Many people have used pieces of software over the years that no longer exist anymore and I think that if you invest time in using a piece of free software, you will ultimately be able to use that software for a very very long time to come. You can’t be sure that Adobe will keep Photoshop going forever. It’s probably not gonna happen anytime soon but, I could see a future where Adobe just stops selling Photoshop. Or the stop selling Illustrator. They’ve already done it with certain pieces of software. They bought Fireworks from Macromedia and they don’t make Fireworks anymore so everyone who used Fireworks, for 20 years, no longer could use Fireworks, because Adobe decided to stop making that. Now if that was free software, Even though Adobe, who are maybe a corporate sponsor of this piece of software, were no longer supporting it, The community could still keep Fireworks going, and so it would be still being used. Under a free software model, you could go and get your copy of Photoshop from any number of vendors who are all equally engaged in it’s support and it’s maintenance. And then you would choose the company that had the best offering So maybe here in Nottingham, there’d be a local company Gimp and Inkscape which are similar to Photoshop and Illustrator. And maybe they would offer a better offering, that would be more appropriate for a local person So there’d be workshop access and, onsite training that maybe you would go with a local company vs the current choice which is you get it from Adobe or you don’t get it at all. That’s the real kind of tragedy of proprietary software, it’s that it ultimately leaves users dependant and then divided and ultimately without a choice, and so, if you can spend anytime using free software, even if you use Photoshop maybe you could install Gimp. And the next time you have a thing you want to create try using Gimp. And if you get stuck, you could always save it in a Photoshop file and go away and kind of do what you need to do and maybe come back to Gimp. It’s worth investing the time and effort into using something, that ultimately has your back vs the back of investors, and you know, Big Corporate [Camera dude] Okay so the elephant in the room, are these reliable, or are these just for people who like getting under the hood of their computers? I think that’s the one thing that comes up. I would say that, generally speaking, the free software programs that you’ve heard of are reliable. There are of course, new versions of those software. And you can’t always rely that the very latest version of something is gonna be reliable. But that’s true too of any software I would say that, if you go and you download a piece of software from, if you go and download Ubuntu for example, or Fedora or Debian or one of these distributions of free software and you install the current, latest release you’re gonna have a pretty good time. Things are generally speaking gonna work well for you and you’re gonna have the occasional thing where something doesn’t quite work, you might have a webcam that doesn’t quite work well or maybe your wireless card has needs extra, proprietary software to function and those are real problems, their problems that all computer users face. But when you use Windows or when you use a Mac those problems are kinda hidden away from you you don’t really see them because, They don’t mind adding extra proprietary programs of off what you already have to make those things function. What I would say is this. If you have, a computer that you would like to try free software a lot of these distributions make what’s callled a liveCD, or a liveUSB you can download it onto a blank CD or a blank USB stick and just try it without actually installing it on your computer It’ll be a little bit slower of course, cause it’s running off the CD or USB stick. But it’ll give you some sense of what works or what doesn’t work. But yeah it’ll give you a sense of the reliability too. And if you have an older computer that you don’t use anymore, then by all means you can go ahead and install free software on there. It will work surprisingly well compared to the way that your Windows or your Mac used to function, When it was kinda on it’s last legs. And I think you’ll have a good time with it. (I’d like to point out that this video was subtitled with Free Software, specifically Subtitle Composer) Video editing isn’t always the easiest thing to do with free software but it can be done, right? People do edited video with free software all the time. And you know, video editing software is somewhat in it’s infancy, as free software.

100 thoughts to “Free Software (made with free software) – Computerphile”

  1. The FSF and Free(as in Freedom) Software movement really do not understand real people. To say Free Software is inhumane is not over exaggerating.

    The ideology behind software MUST be free ignores the harsh reality that programmers, designers, etc all need money to live. Support contracts and training are awful ways to make money in software. Especially if the software is stable and straightforward. How should someone make money on an application they spent years developing?

    Furthermore, Free Software tends to be awful. The UX is supremely bad. Why are there no Free Software UX people?

    Free Software proponents can't complain about the state of software today. In the 70s, people like ESR and RMS had the chance to build a machine like the Macintosh or write a GUI like Windows. But they didn't. Instead Bill and Steve got there first. And now proprietary commercial software is the norm. Sorry guys. You snooze, you lose.

  2. I just wish that there was more free and open source software.  I use apps like GiMP, Audacity, LibreOffice, and Blender quite a bit.  But I'm still looking for free versions of apps such as video editors (a la Vegas or Premiere) and video compositors (a la After Effects or HitFilm) that are anywhere near as fully featured and easy to use as the major brands.

  3. I use a lot of free software for one reason or another (both the 'open source' kind and just the 'free' kind).

    However, I've never been able to find a linux distro that agrees with me. Trying to use them generally feels too much like pulling teeth for no good reason. (I've also tried BSD distros – more reliable and less brittle, but also less well supported, and less likely to work on various hardware. In fact, the brittleness is my biggest complaint about linux. If I take a typical linux disto and mess around with drivers, software updates and the like as much as I would on windows, the system usually crashes or locks up in ways that can only be fixed by extensive command line knowledge… I would not consider linux stable. Not unless you create a setup and group of applications once, and then never try and change it…)

  4. Its almost impossible to live a day  without use free software. Google, facebook, in fact most of web servers run free software, complex service sites run free software because they can modify it as they needed and small ones use it because of the low costs. Android is free software (although some of the programas that vendors put in the phones aren't), IOS and OsX have A LOT of open source components. The 'problem' is that free software are in the next curve of software when it will be 'invisible'. There are some areas where proprietary are still superior (in general deskto professional softwares) but free software alternatives are good enough (and cost less) for most of the users. About the remuneration of people that work with free software, maybe will be hard to be a billionarie, but is easy to take a job to modify a software (you will receive less than to make the entire software but also you will have less work to do).

  5. Great video. I really like the idea of free software and use a lot of free software, however I also think that proprietary software has it's place. It does tend to be more reliable in my experience which is why you pay for it.

  6. Sorry but GIMP is like the worst example that you could ever give to make users start using free software. GIMP does NOT have a user-friendly interface, and that's what most people need. Nobody really needs features, users who don't know about scripting or programming need a good UI. They need an UI that even a person who has no clue at all can use. And GIMP does not do that.

  7. The best thing about free software is that you can adapt it to work even in situations it wasn't designed to work. This has allowed me to compile a lot of my favorite Linux software to run on my phone with just one copy paste for a line that initializes Android's touchpad emulation mode. Qt and Gtk run pretty good in Android but you have to make sure you set the manifest to make them persistent or they will crash a lot, memory use is very minimal.

    Will be going to Radio Shack nearby in a couple days, sale on an open hardware platform we all love for it's versatility and open logic chips. The chips are pretty popular ones, probably have a bunch of their smaller variants in every computerized device you own including your car. You can make your own clones and sell them as long as you don't use their name and they give you most of what you need to know to do that on a small slip of paper with the chips.

    Free software and open hardware is how things get done by people that aren't afraid to get their hands dirty. I hate how proprietary bottle machines are at work. They all jack into a serial modem which can control every function but if we tamper with the stuff, they will refuse servicing the machines or selling any more to the store. That's crazy to me, I don't even try to comprehend it. Your machines crush cans with mechanical systems, there's no secret to protect there, anyone could look inside if they asked to see it and it wasn't too busy. Not like we can all make those things that well, that should be plenty of justification for the high cost, not an enforced blackout of information.

  8. Big thumbs-up for supporting free software; especially Ubuntu, Inkscape, and GIMP (all of which I use and love <3 ).

    Unfortunately I am not a video editing expert, but one of the (many) great things about free software is that there is a huge online comunity that publish tutorials and wikis and are generally very eager to help you. I'll let the rest of the comments box handle that one.

  9. The disclaimer at the end gives people a very poor impression of free software.  It is entirely possible and perfectly easy to produce professional and glitch-free material using free software.  I suspect that whoever edited the video simply wasn't familiar with what he or she was using, and that is the true source of the issues.

  10. There are several problems with free software:
    1. It's much more difficult to profit from free software.
    2. Related to point #1, free software tends to be lower quality than proprietary software because of lack of resources.

    The best middle ground is to release proprietary software under a permissive license after it's no longer under active development.

  11. My workhorses have been Mozilla/SeaMonkey, vim, Open-/LibreOffice, and Ruby for over a decade, and xterm, bash and gcc for two decades. The way I use them, they're rock-solid.
    Just last week, I patched the freetype2 library to have better subpixel hinting on my openSUSE 13.2 box. I've also published a patch for a semicolon bug in one of the source files of GPicView.
    All this wouldn't have been possible if not for free software. I owe the community a lot, and I'm trying to pay that back in form of donations and hobbyist work.

  12. It's a nice practice and all, and I understand many love the gains you get with Free SW. But taking the example with Gimp, there you get a piece of SW that's the lovechild between (idk) hundreds of uncoordinated developers. What you get is an experience which feels very straggling, and not very well put together. There's a reason for why great plugins, scripts, other automated processes comes from developers, and a reason for why great direct manipulation SW comes from the large enterprises, because the latter has to be put together in delicate coordination or it'll feel too clunky.

  13. I'm going to use the terms gratis (no cost) and libre (having liberty) to differentiate the two meanings of "free" …so when they say "free" software, they actually mean libre software.

    So he gave iTunes as an example of software that is gratis but not libre.  However, are there any examples of software that is libre but not gratis?

    (When I say "not gratis" I mean "pay for all" not just accepting donations or pay for support. I also don't count software that you're theoretically supposed to pay for for commercial use only or after a trial period if there is no real enforcement/incentive to make that payment happen.)

  14. While I appreciate the effort that went into this video, if I were in the creator's shoes I don't think I'd have released it. It inadvertently does a great job being its own counterpoint.

  15. Oh, and you've reminded me of my favorite Freedom 0 violation–in iTunes, no less:

    You are not allowed to use iTunes in the development or construction of nuclear weapons.  I'm not sure how that would work, but you're not allowed to do it.  Apparently Apple feels very strongly about nuclear non-proliferation.

  16. Happy to watch the free version of this video. I can easily live with some glitches during the early stages of introducing new software.

  17. I usually love Computerphile videos, but the crackling is unbearable in this one, and defaces the name of free software. I appreciate that you've made an effort to learn gimp/kdenlive over Adobe CC, and I'm sure you've faced difficulties in doing so. As mentioned, video editing in open source software isn't any kind of contender to apple or adobe, yet. Thing is, I'd rather have a enjoyable video with software you're comfortable with over an attempt at software you're not, as I can see people incorrectly making the assumption that the quality of this video = the quality that open source software produces. Perhaps if you wanted to embrace open values, you could of released the video licenced as creative commons instead.

  18. Could you do a video on the differences between various free software licenses (e.g. GPL, BSD license, MIT license, etc.)?

  19. So since free/oss video editing seems to be a topic int he comments right now.  Does anyone have a good recommendation for someone who is a long time premiere user who is not happy with CC and is looking to make the switch?  Most oss/freeware options I've encountered have a terrible UI that seems more fitting to usage by a programmer than a video editor.

  20. I support the message in the video and understand the point of Proprietor y software, but that's not how the Market Economy works…. Photoshop doesn't want you to have a choice, that makes them money… right or wrong or indifferent, its how business is… 

  21. Could it be that the best free software is stuff that developers are interested in, while stuff like GIMP, Inkscape and Scribus are never going to come close to Photoshop, Illustrator or Indesign? It's a shame, because that's exactly the trio of software that's kept me from making the switch from Windows.

  22. @Computerphile could you please release a version of this video with proper sound, so we could share it with ppl?
    if you share the video with a person who is not into computers enough to bare through it, it makes it harder to get the point.

  23. The big problem with free software is the usability. You have to be pretty computer savvy to just download Ubuntu and use it. My mother will never be able to use a Linux distribution on her computer. I gave up on open source software for big things a long time ago. I ran SuSe pretty much out of spite after I had had it with Windows 98. I eventually migrated to OS X and haven't looked back.

    Even the motivation for using free software only seems relevant to uber nerds. The vast majority of people value ease of use over anything else and as long as free software is made by computer gurus for people that are very comfortable with computers it will never be in the mainstream.

  24. Interview this guy about his hoodie.  Was he on TMBG's road crew?  If so… dish.
    Was the superhuman addiction to coffee amazing to behold?
    TMBG love

  25. If Ferrari let their customers build their own engines, how many do you suppose would be better than a Ferrari built engine?

  26. I don't know how you managed to screw up the audio that bad. I've listened to several podcasts that use Audacity (a free, open source program) to edit their audio and I've never heard something that bad.

  27. I would like to see a freedom requirement 4: Freedom to use the software under any license. Viral licenses are not free.

  28. I like the topic, hate the sound…  I am making videos in Kdenlive and I don't have any problems at all. The bad audio quality is not a good intro for OSS :(.

  29. I love the idea of free software, I use blender very often. The point is that free software is just not as good. For me photoshop works way better than gimp does (especially for painting). So free software is just not always an option.

  30. 1. free software – software that is free to use for any purpose, and to share (for free)

    2. open-source software – the thing that guy in the video calls "free software"

    my question – why is he attempting to muddy the definitions?

  31. While I really appreciate the Free Software movement, it's not as good as it sounds. Just imagine a photographer working with Gimp, or a DJ working with VLC Player.
    Of course there are exceptions, like Linux and Apache Software. And those are really cool exceptions, but sadly they are what they are: exceptions.
    And those exception are there because there is a market where they work really well (servers) and there's people who give economical support and can really gain something from being able to modify the software.
    But this will never be true for the average user. The average user (photographer, DJ…) needs someone to get a working software to him and provide support. Here come Adobe, Apple, Microsoft and so on…

  32. Why would I gimp myself (pun intended) when I want to edit an image, just for the sake of using something free? Photoshop is superior to GIMP in basically every facet.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm fully behind the idea of community supported open source software, but I'm still going to use the best tool for the job, regardless of its origin.

  33. Let me see if I've understood… Free software is free but not every free software is free software… Right? Why don't you use "open" instead of free? Seems better for me.

  34. Stick it to the man!

    Seriously, I am rather annoyed by most copyleft/FSF people. Yes, open software is a lovely thing. Things like GPLv3 do not help. They force freedom; if you're being forced, is it really freedom? I strongly believe that GPLv3, and the ferocity that FSF says things should be, "free", makes people less likely to open their code.

    It is really hard to profit from software you spend thousands of hours on, if people can freely pass out what you worked so hard on. You'll have to rely on donations, which isn't a fair system. To reach the amount that you would get, you'd rely mostly on donors that would donate above and beyond, which isn't fair to the donor.

    There are plenty of cases where you could pay for software, and it not come close to the promises given. Most open source projects would match that bill, even if the price was $5. Don't get me wrong, there are some really good open source projects, like Firefox. Usually if you compare paid with free, free isn't as good. There is only one reason for this: because the companies that make the software, can pay top dollar for the skilled labor. Typically, open projects have 3 people working on them, not full time. That's because programming is a skill worth paying for.

  35. I ve never used video editors, but I've always been a defensor of open source technology, I think if all the code was open, the world would be far more evolved.

  36. Fun facts for all of you tech hippies (just to show you how many hypocrites are out there)

    1. Linux is NOT free software, only GNU/Linux distros are :).
    2. I bet the majority of you don't use free software drivers.
    3. Accept the fact that the majority of good dedicated applications are not open source (yes you can find good free software that is awesome, but that's applies for 20% of production needs).

    Have fun lying to yourselves! Cheers.

  37. The noise only seemed to come from the left channel. I'm guessing you could have just deleted the left channel and just duplicated the right. This guys, Matt Lee's got some interesting points.

  38. One of the reasons for using free (as in speech) desktop software is the fact that we can control its behavior and know what it does behind our backs, especially when the code repository is open for everyone to read:

    http://mxr.mozilla.org/

    This keeps everyone honest. The problem with web interfaces is that they are often controlled by a small group of people who usually change stuff behind the scenes. Also if you have developed a work flow and the web page changes / goes away there is not much you can do. As an example for the advantage of persistence: I am using software from 2002 for writing & recording music and I am productive with it. It would be very hard to find a web site from that era that hasn't completely changed.

  39. I use Kdenlive for all of my video editing and tbh, I’ve tried several times to find another free video editing program. Kdenlive has a somewhat weird behavior sometimes, especially when dealing with 5.1 sound: all channels are shown in the audio thumbnails, but only the first two channels are used.

  40. I use a lot of free software. I have Gimp on three machines (two PCs and a Raspberry Pi). I have no reason to use Photoshop any more.

    For word processing: OpenOffice on an old PC; Abiword and Libre Office on the RPi – I like using that machine for word processing because there's no fan, so nice and quiet.

    For graphics: Blender. This is the most amazing piece of free 3D software I've ever used. Difficult to learn but impressive results. You can create games. You can also edit video and sound in it, though I mainly use a paid-for editing application.

  41. Why I dont use free software (mostly): "The exception is that I transcoded the original footage to an easier to handle format before I started. The project has taken a week & involved me trying no less than five distros, several types of video editing software and spending hours waiting for renders which most of the time failed. I found a way of working which still took five hours to export from the editing software, in pieces, it was then pieced together by mkvmerge and uploaded."

  42. The best open source software available (imo) is developer tools and languages, tools that we use daily to make our lives easier when developing proprietary software – because then we have a genuine interest in improving said software.

  43. Adobe did stop selling Photoshop, to some degree. The "Creative Cloud" subscription scheme is so unacceptable to some users that it is as though Photoshop was no longer available for sale. Another way to look at the new way to purchase Photoshop is to say that now, it has an infinite price. So Photoshop is a perfect example of unfree software and of what can go wrong with unfree software!

  44. I'm an engineer and I know a lot of really douchey nerds… That guy in this video looks like a really cool nerd… I'd hang with him.

  45. Yes, Free video editing softwares are pretty shitty right now. But you cannot generalize that to the conclusion that all free softwares are worse than proprietary softwares.

  46. I feel as if it is ironic that a video praising free software made in free software is worse in quality and glitchier than the same when edited in nonfree software 

  47. I love free software. It is great. Anybody can use it in anyway they want and you can change it to your liking but software which requires some form of payment is needed. Payed software companies have more resources and money which can be used to make advancements and code which can be used to make more good software once it is discontinued(and hopefully released). Also I think that if possible companies should allow editing. Also I think that companies should put old software online and make it free software.

  48. Cool interview but very poor editing… but that is definitely NOT free software editors fault as it is implied in the end of the video!! There are many free software video editors that are very capable of superior editing: Blender and KdenLive are some of the examples.

  49. Help me to install loonix. Please pm me instructions on how to install loonix. I want to break away from the corporations.

  50. I'd wish that the 'free software' would have disclaimars against military use or other use that do harm to human life (like killing people).

    That would be great, if CCC would implement that as their standard…

  51. 4:05 I think it’s easy to fall into the trap of equating one piece of Free software to one piece of proprietary software (e.g. Gimp versus Photoshop). Remember that you have a vast menagerie of Free software to call on, at no extra cost . Instead of just using Gimp, also look at Inkscape, DarkTable, Krita, MyPaint–even Blender. Because there are functions in all of these that you can use. And in combination, they will leave Photoshop in the dust.

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