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"If you write for God, you will reach many people and bring them joy. If you write for people, you may make some money and you may give someone a little joy and you may make a noise in the world for a little while. If you write for yourself, you can read what you yourself have written and after ten minutes you will be so disgusted you will wish you were dead." -- Thomas Merton
I was reminded of Philip's essay while reading yet another article bemoaning the state of commercial software.
In the main, Philip's ideas are generally sound, and are predictive of the direction applications software will be forced to take in the long run. However, his essay misstates a key point: commercial software is not sold like tables and chairs. If you've ever read the contract of adhesion that accompanies any commercial software (called, tellingly, the User's -- not Owner's -- Agreement), you know this is true.
When you buy a table or a chair, you own it outright and are permitted to do just about anything you want with it. When you "buy" Microsoft Word, you are only buying the right to use the software -- and then only in carefully prescribed ways. You do not "own" the software in any meaningful way. Moreover, violation of the Agreement terminates your dearly-purchas...