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Re: referencing non-free software


From: Ilya Shlyakhter
Subject: Re: referencing non-free software
Date: Tue, 9 Jan 2018 14:52:00 -0500

On Tue, Jan 09, 2018 at 02:19:29PM -0500, Ilya Shlyakhter wrote:
> [..], so the  FSF's caricature
> of non-free software authors' motivations (“I want to get rich
> (usually described inaccurately as ‘making a living’)") hardly
> applies.

"Of the many things you can accuse the FSF of, this is not one
of them" -- It's a direct quote from
https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/shouldbefree.html .

"Which merits one picks helps determine the outcome of the
comparison." -- but _who_ should pick the merits and do the
comparison?  I'm suggesting it should be the users.  If "it's obvious
how nonfree software harms the user", then, after being pointed to
non-free software along with a warning of its harms, users will
obviously choose "even buggy and less featureful free software" over
its non-free counterpart.  They will then be using free software
deliberately, which I'd think is the kind of activity the FSF would
want to encourage.

I understand the argument for preventing naive/unsophisticated users
from getting trapped into proprietary programs without a full
appreciation of the consequences.  But most Org mode users would not
be in that category.

I have trouble understanding why it's unethical to point even
sophisticated and discerning users, fully capable of understanding the
problems of non-free software, to such software.  A ban on such
pointing has obvious cynical explanations (FSF just doesn't trust any
users' judgement, and/or wants to reduce the need to compete with
non-free software on technical quality).  Loosening the ban would have
the benefit of disproving such interpretations.

On Tue, Jan 9, 2018 at 2:48 PM, Francesco Ariis <address@hidden> wrote:
> On Tue, Jan 09, 2018 at 02:19:29PM -0500, Ilya Shlyakhter wrote:
>> [..], so the  FSF's caricature
>> of non-free software authors' motivations (“I want to get rich
>> (usually described inaccurately as ‘making a living’)") hardly
>> applies.
>
> Of the many things you can accuse the FSF of, this is not one
> of them
> -F
>
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