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Re: redisplay system of emacs

From: Stephen J. Turnbull
Subject: Re: redisplay system of emacs
Date: Wed, 03 Feb 2010 11:48:25 +0900

Richard Stallman writes:
 >      > Exactly.  This aspect of things is what the term "ecosystem" does not
 >      > recognize, and that's why it is better not to use that term here.
 >     I really am amused by this turn of discussion, because advocates of
 >     copyleft are in precisely the same position.  Their *amoral*,
 >     objective analysis of human behavior
 > This is a paradox -- an appearance of contradiction that comes from
 > a misunderstanding.

But the misunderstanding is yours.

 > The argument for copyleft comes from taking a moral stance towards the
 > situation in which many people do not follow our moral ideals.  It is
 > a fact that many people in our field take an amoral stance towards
 > this issue, and it is important to recognize the facts, but that is
 > not the same as taking an amoral stance ourselves.

Of course it's not.  But taking a moral stance does not imply taking
*your* moral stance.  There are other moral stances, and those who
hold them are often as fervent about them as you are about yours.  The
choice is not between your moral stance and an amoral stance; it is
among many moral stances (including the extreme case of an amoral

In particular, use of the word "ecosystem" is typically a signal that
the person is taking a moral stance that values relationships and
stability thereof.  Depending on the person, it is sometimes more,
sometimes less than they value software freedom.  (And sometimes more,
sometimes less than they value freedom of any kind.)

 > By contrast, if we call our software an "ecosystem", then we take
 > an amoral stance.  That's what we shouldn't do.

Of course we *should* take an amoral stance in explaining "how things
work".  It is madness to try to apply "should" to the facts.

And I don't know what you mean by "our software" (use of possessives
by a free software advocate? tut-tut!), but if there exists a separate
body of "their software", then it is technically incorrect to call
"our software" an "ecosystem".  Ecosystems are *closed* systems, but
software has a strong tendency to become related to other software.
Unless you are speaking of all software, it's not big enough to be an

 > Thus, the difference between _our stance_ and our recognition of
 > _others' stances_ dispels the paradox.

No, it doesn't, because it doesn't explain why you refuse to use a
single word, "ecosystem", that emphasizes the existence of variety
(including but not restricted to variety of moral stances) and the
behavioral interactions that entails.  See also David's response.

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