Linked by Linux Review on Tue 20th Mar 2012 17:07 UTC
GNU, GPL, Open Source It's been a while since we caught up with Stallman. But a couple months ago we took a look around at what's happening with law, politics and technology and realized that he maybe perhaps his extremism and paranoia were warranted all along. So when we were contacted by an Iranian Linux publication and asked if we would like to publish an English translation of a recent interview they had done with Stallman, I thought that it was a particularly rich opportunity.
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RE[3]: I just don't follow...
by danger_nakamura on Tue 20th Mar 2012 23:02 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: I just don't follow..."
danger_nakamura
Member since:
2011-06-21

Well, all of it. I mean, does he just mean to apply the philosophy to specific TYPES of software? He does state that the license shouldn't affect "paid development"... so is he referring only to software that has this license applied to it in the first place?

Yet it seems like to me he is suggesting that ALL software be "free".

(Am I asking that clearly?)

If I parse his beliefs correctly...

The idea of "Free or Not Free" really finds genesis in the act of distribution. Interestingly this makes his view of 'Software Freedom" completely compatible with his expressed views on "Personal Freedom." I.E. you can do whatever you want in your own home - it would be wrong to enter and tell you that you have to share, or you can only use such-and-such in a particular way.

I think that if you substitute "In House" for "Paid development it is easier to understand. In the role of contracted consultant or employee, the "work" is done for internal deployment, not for the purposes of sharing or reselling. The programmer in this instance is deriving income from one entity - their employer or contracting agent.

This contrasts with "selling software" in the traditional sense. In this event, there is no contracting party or employer. You are distributing something for consumption that is available to parties that you have no relationship with.

Again, Stallman believes that people should be free to do so, and places no restrictions on selling software in his license. However, people doing this have discovered/reported/assumed that it is difficult to do so unless restrictions are placed on the receiving party. Otherwise, every customer becomes a potential competitor. One such restriction is witholding the scource code - you can't change, develop and release what you don't have.

It is this last case that Stallman objects to. Basically, this is where your freedom bangs up against someone else's. You are now selling someone something that, while not useless, is intentionally crippled and potentially dangerous.

Since he believes that this is immoral, he naturally believes that it should not happen at all. However, his license only applies to code written by someone that shares his beliefs/wishes. He has not participated in any lawmaking or dictatorial activities. You are free to choose whatever terms of distribution you would like on code that YOU have written in its entirety. Just remember that he is free to believe that the choice you make is not a good one - even to believe that it is an amoral or immoral one.

Either all that or I am completely misunderstanding the man ;-)

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[4]: I just don't follow...
by Tuishimi on Wed 21st Mar 2012 04:46 in reply to "RE[3]: I just don't follow..."
Tuishimi Member since:
2005-07-06

I think I get you. ;)

Reply Parent Score: 2

lucas_maximus Member since:
2009-08-18

Just remember that he is free to believe that the choice you make is not a good one - even to believe that it is an amoral or immoral one.


And this is where it is a load of bullshit.

Whether you give software over or not is not a ethical decision and never will be.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[5]: I just don't follow...
by Morgan on Fri 23rd Mar 2012 08:49 in reply to "RE[4]: I just don't follow..."
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

For me, the only time ethics enters into it is when closed source software is used, by its nature of being closed source, to harm people. This is almost always via DRM or activation schemes. A great example is Microsoft Office. It's a very expensive program, and after you've activated it a certain number of times (every time can be legal and valid mind you) the key becomes banned by Microsoft, requiring you to call and explain why they should allow you to install it to the same computer for the fourth time. Never mind that you paid an arm and a leg for it, never mind that you are having to reinstall it to the same hardware four times, not giving it out to your friends or selling it on eBay. If you're lucky, they will unlock the key for one last install (with a stern warning that this is your last chance) instead of insisting that you buy another valid key at a 10% discount.

To me, this system does nothing to deter piracy and everything to force genuine, well intended customers to have to buy something they already bought once before. This is unethical and in my eyes, overtly criminal. It's why I refuse to buy Microsoft Office even though I can get the most expensive version through my part time job's employee discount for pennies on the dollar. LibreOffice does everything I need from an office suite, and it's free in every sense of the word.

Reply Parent Score: 4