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Re: elisp's cl package. Don't understand the notice about eval-when-comp

From: Alan Mackenzie
Subject: Re: elisp's cl package. Don't understand the notice about eval-when-compile
Date: Tue, 31 Mar 2009 10:36:29 +0000
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.9i

Hi, Xah,

On Mon, Mar 30, 2009 at 09:12:54PM -0700, Xah Lee wrote:
> Dear B T Raven,

> non-free, is misleading term for proprietary software. People started
> to refer to proprietary as non-free, because Richard Stallman abuses
> the words ???free??? and ???freedom???, and as a consequence, people
> started to call other software that are not compatible with his ideal,
> as ???non- free???.

It's hardly an abuse, it's the essential meaning of "free".  What RMS has
been doing for ~30 years is drawing attention to an important facet of
software, and in doing so shaking up people's ideas; the use of the term
"non-free" was an important part of this.

> Despite the fact that the word ???free??? does not refer to price, but
> proprietary software isn't necessarily restraining freedom. In fact,
> the issue of whether source code is proprietary or non-public has
> little to do with the concept of liberty.

On the contrary, it is overwhelmingly important to the concept of
liberty, and becoming steadily more so.  Consider software's use in
voting machines, or the ease with which certain operating systmes can be
compromised via the internet; consider how the encryption of electronic
books can deprive blind users of the freedom to read them.

> Richard Stallman's vision of software is ???free???, in the sense that
> coder community can freely look at the source code and make use of it.
> That sense of ???free??? is a point of view. As a contrast, proprietary
> software is also free, in the sense that entrepreneurs and businesses
> can freely develop and sell their software without worrying about some
> coder making copies with minor or no changes put it out free of charge
> that robs their work.

Indeed.  Every politician there's ever been has been in favour of
freedom, and round the world you'll find political parties of all hues
calling themselves "liberal".  The real question is "freedom for whom?".
It is scarcely possible to exercise any freedom without imposing on
somebody else, no matter how slightly.

The people who post on this list believe that freedom for software's
users trumps that of its writers.

>   Xah

Alan Mackenzie (Nuremberg, Germany).

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