"Hackers" blow my mind.

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And yes, I realize it takes a toll on our field (programming) but there's a main key fact your missing in that claim which is that some people consider some freeware to be better than non-freeware.

Then they can use that freeware. I'm sure there are plenty of people that like opensource and free software compared to paid software. But most of the time a paid software will be better then a free version, yes not all the time but most. Anyway I wasn't really talking about the consumer I was talking about the producer.

You're assuming that the only way to make money from software production is through the selling of copies. Several models have been successfully tried, such as charging for support, or subscription fees (e.g. an online game whose client is free).
In the case of music, there's concerts, merchandise, etc.

But that all comes back to my original point. That producers need incentives to create that product. Subscription fees, charging for support all fit into that because they have the chance to make the producer money. But yes I am starting to see them models a lot more now days since it cuts down on torrenting the software.

Bill Gates is still a billionaire so it must not be that damaging to the industry.

You may be right that it won't hurt the industry much, but I have a feeling that it will crush certain fields of entertainment if they don't get a hold onto it.
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If someone does really want to share his work to others free, i dont it is bad,if it is said that free softwares are made copying a proprietery one's features and other things then other proprietery softwares could also do that,the open source softwares are at times better than a paid one(given that open source softwares are free and give almost the same functionality as a paid).i find a lot of open source softwares better than paid .i use 7zip,VLC,openoffice, gimp , codeblocks , mingw, my list goes on.
Open source software is good in many cases, but not ideal in a lot of cases also. Enterprise level software for example, chances are you want the paid software for what it comes with: support. That's a piece of information people tend to gloss over when talking about the differences between paid software and open source software.
I have four words for you: RHEL.
That's actually a big issue we're facing. Continue paying RHEL for their support on our various machines (it's not much per machine, but we have a lot so it adds up) or find an open source alternative. We're leaning to a mixture I believe. Keep RHEL for the major machines, and go open source on our not quite as vital machines.
RHEL is open source (edit: "with exceptions").
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Not entirely. And they still offer the support, which is contrary to most* open source alternatives.
Are you obligated to pay for support, or is it optional? If it's optional, why not just keep RHEL on all your machines and just pay for the support of the ones that need it? If not, just put Fedora on the other ones, it's basically the same as RHEL.
Pretty much, you have to purchase entitlements to get access to updates. I know the sys admins are looking at CentOS with varying opinions.
Scientific Linux (SL)..."main goal for the base distribution is to have everything compatible with Enterprise, with only a few minor additions or changes."
That's actually the other distro we're looking at.
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