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Re: The sad decline of copyleft software licenses? :(

From: al3xu5 / dotcommon
Subject: Re: The sad decline of copyleft software licenses? :(
Date: Thu, 1 Oct 2020 20:16:10 +0200

Hi and sorry if I'm intruding... just for some general thoughts...

Thu, 1 Oct 2020 16:09:47 +0200 - Marinus Savoritias

> On 10/1/20 2:21 PM, Jean Louis wrote:
> > * Marinus Savoritias <> [2020-10-01
> > 12:06]:  
> >>> GPL program may be used for crime, smuggling, nuclear missiles, drug
> >>> sales, and other destructive actions. But that is still a feature of
> >>> free software, and not disadvantage. You may use it for whatever
> >>> purpose you wish, that includes invoking it by proprietary
> >>> software.  
> >>
> >> Depends how you look at it. Being able to use GPL for purposes of war
> >> gives freedom to the privileged people who do the war. But what about
> >> the people who are actually being attacked? Do they have Freedom with
> >> your license? Shouldn't we at least try to protect these people from
> >> being attacked?  
> > 
> > It is not up to us to decide who is just or unjust. Think about that. 
> Why do you decide if proprietary software is unjust then? Deciding what 
> is just and unjust selectively is hypocritical.

Sorry but I do not agree. We should decide what is just or unjust,
without any delegation to other people or self-stated authorities. 

> Plus if you think that war or nukes or the other things you mentioned 
> are not necessarily bad then it makes me question whether you care about 
> people at all outside of your bubble.
> > 
> > When you give money or receive money, that money was maybe used for
> > illegal activities, like it was most probably in hands of dirty
> > people, or criminals, drug dealers or child traffickers.
> > 
> > It is not up to us to judge who uses the software and for which
> > purpose, including to limit usage of software for any purpose.
> > 
> > When you sell water, you don't limit who is to drink the water based
> > on their character, same with money, food, and also same with free
> > software.  
> If you are privileged enough to not care sure. But if somebody has 
> created a program that can be used to hurt people and they do nothing to 
> stop it then I will do everything in my power to speak against it.
> If you created a program that you know may be used then you are 
> complicit too. You knew what you were doing but you didn't stop it.

Sorry again, but IMOHO all this discussion is out of scope: it is about
the concept of freedom, while software licenses are at a very lower
level being about laws (which are totally different from justice) and
legal rights (which are the matter of software licenses, including the GPL
and its 4-rights which are not 4-freedoms...).

> Don't compare water to Software please. Water is natural nobody created. 
> It is necessary for everybody. There is no alternative.

Yet I think the comparison is not entirely improper if at a broader level
of reasoning: legal copyright restrictions apply to software, legal
ownership restrictions apply to water (I can prevent you from drinking
water from the lake that is on my land; in Bolivia, the government with
the Bechtel Corp. privatized all the water by banning the population from
collecting rainwater)... 
In both cases, these artificial capitalist devices (copyright and
property), both entirely "human" and not at all "natural", limit people's

That is why I think copyright (like property itself, public or private)
should not exist, and copyleft licenses should be thought as simple means
of mitigating the damage, in the perspective of complete copyright

> >> Or are we too far into our own privilege that we don't care that our
> >> software can be used to hurt others?  
> > 
> > Free software was always like that. You can use it as you wish.  
> MIT and the likes permissive licenses sure. GPL is not though. It has 
> restrictions because it understood unlimited freedom for one person 
> limits the freedom of the other.

The so called (by detractors) copyleft "restrictions" are actually
self-defense tools, just a way of "overturning" in self-defense the
restrictions on freedom caused by copyright (here are real restrictions!) 

> Your freedom ends where my freedom begins.

Sorry again, but I do not agree. 
If your freedom ends where my freedom begins, then both mine and your
freedom are limited, and therefore neither you nor I are free.
Freedom cannot be subtractive: when mine and your freedom "meet" (and this
depends only on us), then we will both be free.
But, also this discussion maybe out of scope...

Better to stay on the general level of the subject of the
thread, which is the (alleged) decline of copyleft and free software in

In my opinion this is an important subject to be discussed, but it is in
part limiting and therefore misleading.

In fact, I believe that the really relevant aspect is not whether and how
a decline in copyleft and free software in general is taking place today
(which seems quite evident to me), but if there is a progressive and
perhaps irreversible failure of the ***ethical*** purposes for which free
software was born; and if it is (as I believe it is), it is important to
discuss and understand ***how and why*** this is happening and what the
***countermeasures*** may be.

> >> [...]

Best regards


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