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Re: [GNU-linux-libre] fork with better wording, perha

From: Riley Baird
Subject: Re: [GNU-linux-libre] fork with better wording, perhaps ?
Date: Tue, 23 Sep 2014 09:53:29 +1000
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux i686; rv:24.0) Gecko/20100101 Thunderbird/24.6.0

> Murder is not a freedom, it's a crime.  Freedom
> amplifies possibilities, and does not restrict them.

If freedom is that which amplifies possibilities, but does not restrict
them, then why doesn't murder fit this description?

If I am able to murder someone to use their flesh in cooking, then that
increases greatly the number of different dishes which I can make. It
does not restrict my freedom, since I am not forced to cook using their
flesh, it is just an option available to me.

>> So why should I be able to stop you from publishing the book I wrote?
> **** Copyright was not created to prevent anyone from publishing the
> work of other people, but to give a chance to the author to establish a
> trade out of a work that is not a commodity. 

Yes, but you haven't established why helping the authors make money in
an artificial marketplace is more important than protecting my free speech.

>> A license which guaranteed everyone the right to give away, sell and
>> modify a work provided that any derivative software remained under the
>> same license would do a much better job than the permissive licenses do
>> at guaranteeing freedom, whilst not requiring the redistributor to give
>> away the source.
> *** Actually, the GNU Affero General Public License v3+, but I may be
> wrong, does not require the redistributor to give the source, but simply
> to make it accessible: so if the source is publicly available somewhere,
> linking to it would be enough.  Isn't that the case?

I think that that's only if you allow people to interact with the
software over a network, and if you have not made any modifications to
the software.

> you're wrong on two
> accounts: first, there are industries formed around distributing
> "sourceless" software without restriction.  It's called freeware, and
> the Opera browser is a good example of that. 

Opera does not allow distribution of the browser without restriction. In
section 3.1 on its EULA, we find that modification, separation for use
on different computers, distribution to any third party, reverse
engineering, and allowing any third party to use the software are all

Also, Opera's business model is based around two main sources of
revenue: licensing to the embedded market (e.g. Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo
Wii) and collecting information from users' searches.

The licensing to the embedded market would be entirely unnecessary if
distribution were free (although, admittedly, porting software could be
a service which would be sold).

As for collecting information from users' searches, *this* is a problem.
It still amazes me how many people use Chrome instead of Chromium when
practically the only difference is added tracking. That being said, even
software with source (like Firefox) makes tracking enabled by default,
and the practical ability to fork has not convinced them to change their
ways. Same with Ubuntu and searches being sent to Amazon.

> The second point is that
> you missed the requirement to exercise freedom #1: in order to be able
> to study how the software works, one must have access to the source code.

Yes, to study how the software works, one must have access to the source
code (unless one is willing to learn how to reverse engineer).

So, it seems that we have to choose between two freedoms: freedom of
speech, and practical ability to study how (all) software works. I'd
prefer the one that can be worked around legally.

>> Objectivity does not suppose an objective subject - in fact, it does not
>> suppose a subject at all. If there were no conscious beings, an
>> objective reality could still exist.
> *** That's debatable, but humans have been doing it since they have the
> capacity to do so, and still didn't reach any conclusion.

Hopefully we'll take less than 20000 years. :) Can you imagine a
universe with no conscious beings? If you believe in the Big Bang
Theory, then such a time must have existed.

> *** If the case were "the existence of God", I would agree: some would
> say it does not exist, some would say it exists, and nobody could prove
> anything.  If the case were "intelligent design", I wouldn't: it's
> proven that the Earth is older than 4000 years by orders of magnitude,
> that dinosaurs and humans didn't walk the Earth at the same time (unless
> you count the few species still alive who did, like giant turtles or
> squids), etc.

Belief in the Judeo-Christian God requires belief in an approximately
6000 year old Earth, if we are to take the Bible literally. So, if you
can prove that the Earth is more than 6000 years old, you can disprove a
literal interpretation of the Bible.

> There are cases where contradiction is good and
> warranted, and others where it is not.


> And no, if I'm
> producing a guide on choosing a free software license, I don't want to
> hear about what proprietary software vendors have to say about it.

Understandable. And, if you're right, really, you shouldn't have to.
However, note that this is a moral issue, and all morality, to some
degree, involves an arbitrary choice of what to value. Hedonistic
utilitarians value happiness, communists value equality, libertarians
value individual freedom and Orthodox Jews value following Mosaic Law.

Anyone who cares enough about a moral issue to want to research it is
going to want to see both sides. This does not mean you have to show
them both sides, however. If I am reading an essay, I know that I am
getting a biased view, and I take that into account.

Maybe, if you put a FSF logo somewhere on the page, people would see the
origin of the document, realise the bias of the guide, and read with
this in mind. (This would be a good idea for the github-based one too,
although github seems apolitical to most people.)

> BTW, I don't think "man *did* come from a monkey" nor that evolution is
> gradual.  I think that human is the most complex animal humans know,
> that it came about by a wide range of gradual and sudden mutations, and
> is mostly an aggregate of bacteria and unicellular organisms that
> entered a fruitful symbiosis, leading to more complex symbiosis,
> mutations, and integration of the "human" organism.

Do you have any evidence to back this up? We can progressively trace
back the evolution of the entire Homo genus - see here for a good
explanation: .

> *** I hope my second paragraph above makes for a better explanation that
> does not require framing copyleft in terms of restriction of someone's
> actions, but rather of prevention from abuse.

Yes, I agree that copyleft is prevention of abuse. (I also think that it
is a restriction, for the reasons described above, but I agree that it
is not a good idea to frame it as such, at least not initially.)

>> That sounds horrible. Please tell me that no-one is seriously thinking
>> of bombing cities to help the construction industry.
> *** When I look at what happens in Gaza, honestly, I can't.

Gaza is such a horrible situation. I wish that Israel and Palestine
would just agree to make peace (although, to be fair, they are trying).

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