The "Free Beer" Hangover

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OSS

A couple of days ago, I talked about Yahoo's warning messages saying my system (Linux) had not been tested with their mail program and that resulted in a very impassioned plea to help a group of Yahoo Groups users to protest the changes that Yahoo has apparently made to the way Yahoo Groups work.

Changes to the way mailing lists work are nothing new. I am a member of several Yahoo Groups. But I am also a member of a number of Google Groups and a mess of mailing lists running on Mailman. While reading the complaint, I had two thoughts.

First, I was reminded of comments made by Stormy Peters at LinuxCon this year. She was talking about Facebook and Google and by implication Yahoo, when asking us if we were aware of all the things that these services provide and the licenses, for lack of a better word, that they provide them under. She pointed out that they are essentially offering free beer and we, as users are drinking it up without any thought of the costs afterwards. And as the folks decrying the changes in Yahoo's Groups are discovering, some of those costs are pretty high.

rest here