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Re: Emacs contributions, C and Lisp

From: Stephen J. Turnbull
Subject: Re: Emacs contributions, C and Lisp
Date: Wed, 26 Feb 2014 16:08:29 +0900

Richard Stallman writes:

 > This is because LLVM does not try to defend users' freedom at all.

Of course it does.  It gives them the choice of using excellent free
software.  Apple (inter alia) may provide proprietary versions of LLVM
or its components, but many users will choose to use the free ones for
various reasons.

 > Its developers willingly permit nonfree modified versions, which is
 > the reason that LLVM has done harm.

Anyone using a non-strong-copyleft license does the same kind of harm.
That includes the LGPL, which has an even more harmful effect than
that of the proposed GCC which emits AST information, since you can
include LGPLed code in the same process with proprietary code -- in
the completion application in question, that usually minor efficiency
might actually be useful.

So, precisely what is the difference between the harm (of quite
limited scope, as DAK points out) done by LLVM, and the much broader
harm[1] done by Debian, which distributes a very large proportion of
its software under non-strong-copyleft licenses?  The point is that
with the exception of the deliberately perverse licenses like SSLeay,
almost all are GPL-compatible, and Debian *could* distribute them as a
collective work under the GPL (with exceptions for the perverse
permissive licenses -- n.b. GPL-incompatible strong copyleft licenses
don't cause this kind of harm), which would have a useful psychological
effect, even if in practice very little legal effect?

And why should Emacs users suffer for that difference?

[1]  Many proprietary webservers and databases that can be used in
"LAMP stacks" happily run on Debian, as well as Ubuntu, Red Hat, and
the rest of the commercial distros.  The webservers at least are often
based on free software, ie, Apache.

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