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Re: [DotGNU]DotGNU Manifesto - first draft

From: David Sugar
Subject: Re: [DotGNU]DotGNU Manifesto - first draft
Date: Mon, 15 Apr 2002 20:50:50 -0400
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There are plenty of other reasons and situations where a society may choose to restrict "limitless profit potential" of a few for the overall good of the whole. For example, imagine what the practice of medicine could be like without the ethics of things like the hippocratic oath getting in the way of making a profit on someone's illness? Should we permit a for profit market in human organs because it might improve the economy a little?

If we as a society permit things like exclusionary practices common in proprietary software and granting of temporary monopolies on ideas because it benefits the profits of existing organizations at the cost of everyone's freedom, is this very different from saying let's suspend parts of the constitution for awhile because freedom is currently interefering with the ability of government to maximize it's policies?

Freedom as an ethic has nothing to say directly about pro or anti-business when taken in whole that I can see. That it can potentially prevent the rise of unnatural market monopolies and encourage more market diversity by loweing barriers to market entry is probably in the long run market neutral. One might even say in that role it can function as the invisible hand of capitalism immortalized by Adam Smith. As such, I cannot think of anything that is more pro-capitalist for the software market than Free Software.

No, I see nothing anti-business in the GPL.

Richard Stallman wrote:

   Some people call the GNU GPL/LGPL 'antibusiness'.  They say 'It's not
   conducive to profit-making enterprise.'

It is not conducive to the practice of making a profit by trampling
our freedom and dividing our community.  However, that practice is
antisocial and ought to be discouraged one way or another.

We encourage people to make a profit, as long as they respect our
freedom and our community.

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