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Re: Woctave-another gui front end

From: Przemek Klosowski
Subject: Re: Woctave-another gui front end
Date: Fri, 21 Dec 2012 14:16:27 -0500
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64; rv:17.0) Gecko/17.0 Thunderbird/17.0

So, if Octave developers want to attract more users, instead of
scaring them to death with GPL and its strings attached better
explain them how Octave can use there problems _despite_ strings
attached to GPL.

And the _very_ first explanation should when it is allowed to link
with non-free SW.

Sergei, you should know as well as I that the biggest problem with rigid ideologies is that they ignore reality, which always ends up badly. You have to be careful, however, that the opposite of ideology does not become another ideology.

You seem to equate freedom with rejecting the constrictions of GPL, but the empirical truth is that GPL has an excellent track record in providing useful technology, while alternatives that you consider truly 'free' infrequently but persistently revert to proprietary and/or frustrating arrangements. A couple of examples off the top of my head: Linux kernel with closed video or wireless drivers; ghostscript with its advanced closed/proprietary enhancements; Evolution with Exchange plugins, and a whole bunch of 'seemingly free but with strings attached' scientific software, in the way of METIS. Often such non-free links not only affect the original free base, but hurt the entire project, by introducing confusion, fragility and duplication of effort.

You see your opponents as ideologues, but you need to consider a practical side to their argument---GPL is good at preventing such poor outcomes.

Finally, there's a very useful Boy Scout motto: "Leave it better than you found it". It applies to software, and also to mailing list discussions. My biggest problem with the recent traffic is that it didn't stand up to that high standard; I wish people would ask themselves before posting whether they have something novel and interesting to say, or whether it'll be just a repetitive go-around, or, worse, an ego-stroker at the expense of someone else. Did I satisfy my own criteria? I am not sure---so I will stop right here, then.

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