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Re: [Gnu-arch-users] OT: Slavery???

From: Tom Lord
Subject: Re: [Gnu-arch-users] OT: Slavery???
Date: Thu, 6 Nov 2003 11:05:38 -0800 (PST)

    > From: "Parker, Ron" <address@hidden>

>>>> Stephen == Stephen J. Turnbull
>>>> Tom == Tom Lord
>>>> Ron == Ron Parker

Stephen> Ie, that people have a lot of hostility toward BK and Larry
Stephen> McVoy.

Tom> [quoting RMS]
Tom>             The spirit of the Bitkeeper license is the spirit of
Tom>             the whip hand. It is the spirit that says, "You have
Tom>             no right to use Bitkeeper, only temporary privileges
Tom>             that we can revoke. Be grateful that we allow you to
Tom>             use Bitkeeper. Be grateful, and don't do anything we
Tom>             dislike, or we may revoke those privileges." [....]
Tom>             Every non-free license is designed to control the
Tom>             users more or less. Outrage at this spirit is the
Tom>             reason for the free software movement.
Tom>                    --Richard M. Stallman

Stephen> Anyone who deliberately equates intellectual property with
Stephen> slavery has abandoned reason and embraced demagogery.  A
Stephen> slave cannot say "no" to his owner [etc.]

Ron> I usually follow your logic, but I must have missed the
Ron> antecedent slavery reference with respect to "intellectual
Ron> property". The closest reference I was able to find was an RMS
Ron> interview at,
Ron> wherein he likens certain jobs in "enterprise zones" to slavery.
Ron> A statement which would certainly be true of many factory jobs in
Ron> China and other countries with a non-Western perspective on human
Ron> rights.  I realize this is not a popular statement, although
Ron> true.  Stallman's comment came up as part of an answer to a
Ron> question about the Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property
Ron> Rights (TRIPS) Agreement, but had nothing to do directly with IP.

Ron> Could please fill in my mental gaps in your argument?

I don't see Stephen's point either.  As nearly as I can tell he's
reacting to the phrase "whip hand", whips being strongly associated
with the antebellum practice of slavery in the United States.

Had RMS meant slavery, would he not more likely have said "the spirit
of the slaveholder"?  And on the other hand, RMS is clearly not
pulling any punches with respect to his opinion of the ethics of the
BK license -- even though "whip hand" does not imply a comparison to
slavery, neither does it equivocate about the spirit of the license.

I haven't seen any, to use Stephen's phrase, "gratuitous
Larry-bashing" on this list.

I have seen hostility towards Larry McVoy's and Bitmover's behavior
towards and impact on the free software community and I've seen the
negative effects of that impact in both the Subversion and arch
projects.  A reaction of hostitility seems entirely appropriate to me
and if there's a problem, it's that such hostility isn't more wide
spread or more effectively turned into political action.

Let's see, we've got politically biased censorship on lkml, legally
mandated segregation of some free software community members from the
process of making free software revsion control systems, installation
of a dependency on proprietary software in core engineering processes
of the community (meaning that participants, in order to engage in
those processes, must yield the very rights the free software movement
was started to defend and promote), a cloud of doubt surrounding what
actions might provoke legal threats or actions from BM, a cloud of
_actual_ threats which, while not clearly defensible, are made against
people in no position to test the qeustion --- and we got all this in
exchange for what?  _Supposedly_ Linus scales better now (but this is
something not even well defined, let alone actually proven).  And
Larry, in spite of his protestations, does not exactly appear to be
getting the short end of the economic stick out of this, nor does he
not use it in advertising, nor did he not obtain product design advice
in the deal.  Is Larry, alone, to blame for these problems?  Certainly
not.  Is he innocent in them or anything other than one of the focus
points of their origin?  No, again.   Is he the benefactor of the
kernel project he claims to have set out to become?


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