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Re: Release plans

From: Alan Mackenzie
Subject: Re: Release plans
Date: Sun, 17 Aug 2008 08:01:27 +0000
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.9i

Morning, Thomas!

On Sat, Aug 16, 2008 at 07:37:24PM -0700, Thomas Lord wrote:
> Alan Mackenzie wrote:
> > You aren't considering the effect on everybody else.

> That is the main thing that I *am* considering.

Not in its full compass.

> >The ability to link binary libraries into Emacs means the ability to link
> >non-free binaries in (think Linux modules here), possibly with _very_
> >useful functionality, whose inclusion could screw up Emacs's freedom in a
> >significant way.  Five years from now, lots of people could be "freely"
> >chosing this "non-free" version.  This would be damaging to the aims of
> >the FSF.

> It is defeatism if you think that Emacs maintainers can't easily hack
> their way out of such a situation or even if you think that that's a
> likely outcome.

"Defeatism".  That's a sort of ad hominem, which seems intended to
deflect from analysing whether something's true or not.  And no, it's
not defeatism.  We can hack our way out of software problems fairly
easily, that's what we do.  But you're kidding yourself in the extreme
if you think you can just hack your way out of a legal problem, or a
social problem.

> >Now I'm not saying this is an overwhelming argument. 

> I'm saying it's completely underwhelming.

Yes, but you're doing it by shouting loudly, disparaging people by
calling them "defeatists", and evading others' arguments rather than
facing them head on.  My last post was an attempt to get you to analyse
these arguments.

> > I'm saying that it must be weighed and balanced against the
> > (substantial) benefits of binary libraries.  Just as individual
> > people's freedom to own guns must be weighed against the right of
> > the community not to have its members shot.

> Stephen said it a different way.  I said it already.   There is no
> "must be weighed and balanced" here.  Yes, that's what RMS would
> have us believe -- that it is a judgment call and one that has to be
> made centrally and who better to make it....

RMS is battle hardened with bitter experience behind him.  He's possibly
the only one of us with any useful feel for legalities.  There is nobody
better to make the final judgement.

> I argued that no judgment call is needed.   By generic reasoning --
> just general common sense principles -- that feature X enables
> non-free hacks is neutral: never an argument against feature X.  That
> feature X enables many free software hacks is an argument for X.

I've heard your argument and I accept it as far as it goes, but it
doesn't go far enough.  You're oblivious to some of the wider issues -
responding to these with words like "defeatism" isn't useful discussion.

> >My opinion on allowing binary libraries into Emacs is that its
> >dangers would be greater than the benefits it would allow.  I'm
> >willing to be persuaded I'm mistaken.

> How did you become persuaded of the supposed "dangers" in the first
> place?

By carefully paying attention to what people have been saying and
thinking about it.

> >You should address this, instead of evading it as you have done up to
> >now.

> Stephen's reply answered that bit well.

No, _YOU_ should address this.  Show, by careful discussion, that you
have understood what is being said, and give quality argument against

> -t

Alan Mackenzie (Nuremberg, Germany).

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