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

From: Stephen J. Turnbull
Subject: Re: [Gnu-arch-users] OT: Slavery???
Date: Tue, 11 Nov 2003 02:01:34 +0900
User-agent: Gnus/5.1002 (Gnus v5.10.2) XEmacs/21.5 (celeriac, linux)

>>>>> "Tom" == Tom Lord <address@hidden> writes:

    > From: "Stephen J. Turnbull" <address@hidden>

    > I would like to know just what justifies the outrage that rms and
    > others such as Tom feel.  What justifies "outrage" at the offer of a
    > private contract that one is not party to, and one is free to accept
    > or refuse as he chooses, and one is free to advocate publically that
    > others not accept, either?  

    Tom> Simply put, you have an oversimplified, really
    Tom> "overidealized", view of the roles of contracts in society.

*sigh*  I don't want to hear about my defects in over-simplified, over-
idealized terms.  I'm well aware that there are potential problems in
my views on these issues, but I'm pretty sure you're unqualified to
discuss them at the theoretical level, even compared to me.  I want
articulate explication of your views, in hopes that it will shed light
on those problems.

    Tom> That an exchange of rights by contract is, under the law,
    Tom> permissable does not automatically excuse it (or the offer
    Tom> for it) from the realm of things which are morally
    Tom> outrageous.

True.  However, the counterexamples which are given are invariably
extreme, the canonical one being "selling yourself into slavery."  The
question here is "why is proprietary software so extreme as to be an
exception to the general rule that there is no moral justification for
interfering with voluntary contracts?"  (Please don't continue with
the straw man of assuming that "legal implies moral"; I didn't say
that in the first place.)

Another way to put it is "is the right to copy, modify, and
redistribute a given 16 lines of code really on the same plane as the
rights to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness?"  If so, why?

    Tom> Those of us who believe in software freedom reject the idea
    Tom> that such an offer is ever a bargain or good deal --

This sounds quite circular.  You're outraged because _your_ right to
software freedom is somehow abridged when some third party offers _me_
proprietary software, but the only evidence I can see for your right
that _overrides my rights_ to privacy and contract is your outrage.

Is "obviously, Steve, you are an infidel, and your mind incapable of
perceiving higher Truth" the best you can come up with?  :-(

Institute of Policy and Planning Sciences
University of Tsukuba                    Tennodai 1-1-1 Tsukuba 305-8573 JAPAN
               Ask not how you can "do" free software business;
              ask what your business can "do for" free software.

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