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Re: Should distros take steps to reduce russian access to Free Software?

From: Federico Leva (Nemo)
Subject: Re: Should distros take steps to reduce russian access to Free Software?
Date: Sun, 13 Mar 2022 11:51:26 +0200
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64; rv:91.0) Gecko/20100101 Thunderbird/91.5.0

Il 13/03/22 05:52, Aaron Wolf ha scritto:
The inventors of nuclear technology might feel guilty about their role in the threat of nuclear war, but it's too late now to undo that.

The same is true or any invention or creation. You can hope to keep it secret if it's so dangerous, but once it's out there in the world, it's too late. If you restrict access, chances are only the worst actors will get access to it.

This concern about dangerous software seems related more to trade secrets than to copyright. Keeping something secret so that nobody knows about it is a completely different kind of problem than "what's the best copyright regime for the use of this work by copyright-complying entities". Making it public but regulating its usage by private actors is more likely to be a matter of patenting and the like. (If a software is so dangerous, it must be for the ideas/inventions it contains, rather than for the creativity of the specific software implementation.)

As usual, the "intellectual property" bandwagon probably makes people more confused. People often forget the basics, so it's useful to spread pages where trade secrets and patents are discussed, like:

As for the example of nuclear, it's not particularly useful because any conclusion depends entirely on your personal assumptions, particularly about whether centralised power is good or bad. If you like centralised power, you will argue for more trade secrets, more patents, stricter copyright; and vice versa. I would argue that nuclear catastrophe has been avoided due to popular pressure and decentralised actions of responsible people, more than by exercise of central power, therefore I would argue for less secrets, less patents and less copyright restrictions.

See for instance how Stanislav Petrov saved the world:

He was able to make the correct decision because he knew some details about how the alert systems worked. If he had trusted the software, we would not be talking now. More transparency (at least internal, possibly external too) would increase the chances of such correct interpretations.


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