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OT: threats to Free Software (was: AW: Fwd: CEDET sync)

From: Stephen J. Turnbull
Subject: OT: threats to Free Software (was: AW: Fwd: CEDET sync)
Date: Wed, 03 Mar 2010 13:00:10 +0900

Stefan Monnier writes:

 > I think the real threat the FSF's ideals is that computers are being
 > split into two camps:
 > - cell-phones
 > - web-services
 > there are still some things in the middle (laptops/desktops) where users
 > can run Free Software, but the tendency is pretty clear.

Good point.  But Emacs doesn't really run on either extreme.  How is
this relevant to Emacs?

 > Both sides (cell-phones and web-services) may internally run Free
 > Software, but users enjoy (currently at least) none of the freedoms
 > provided by Free Software.

The question I ask is "how much of that is due to user taste?"

There's also the problem that the GNU/FSF line has long been that
hardware and software can be separated, and insisting on freedom in
software is sine qua non, while insisting on freedom in hardware (ie,
embedded systems) is a non-starter (this is the original reason for
the GNU/Aladdin split in Ghostscript, you may recall).  But these new
platforms very much blur the line, just as printers and faxes did for

The answer that Richard gave Peter at the time may very well have been
correct at that time.  Clearly however the situation has changed, such
that new licenses such as the Affero license have been developed to
address *some* of these issues.  I have to wonder if this should not
affect Emacs's strategy as well.

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