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[gNewSense-users] Re: Morality, Services, and Source code

From: Yavor Doganov
Subject: [gNewSense-users] Re: Morality, Services, and Source code
Date: Mon, 05 Feb 2007 21:25:53 +0200
User-agent: Wanderlust/2.15.5 (Almost Unreal) SEMI/1.14.6 (Maruoka) FLIM/1.14.8 (Shij┼Ź) APEL/10.6 Emacs/22.0.93 (i486-pc-linux-gnu) MULE/5.0 (SAKAKI)

I'm trimming some parts of the message because the essential thing is
what we disagree on.  All other examples are more or less a
consequence of this disagreement.  BTW, a kind request: If you reply
to a mailing list, don't use Mailman's "digest" feature -- it is
intended to be for users that only want to read, not to participate in
discussions.  Replying to such a "batch" mail breaks threading and
makes following the discussion rather hard.  If traffic is a problem
for you, you could consider reading the list as a newsgroup and
applying "scoring" techniques.

Peter Rock wrote:
> > I have machines (not all of them are my property)
> You've lost me already with this contradiction.

That was completely intentional.  Some of these machines are property
of relatives and friends of mine; they're physically located in my
flat.  I'm fixing hardware failures and have full sudo rights.  That
said, I can decide what software to install on them, but I'm not the

> The school is the students. So if the school has lost its freedom, so
> have the students. Therefore, software on school machines should be
> free.

The society is the people.  So if the society has lost its freedom, so
have the people.  Therefore, software on people's machines should be

> > Following this logic we can say, and it won't be wrong in that sense,
> > that Microsoft is providing a service [...]
> I don't understand.

There is a very thin line between a "service" and what you generally
consider "software that has to be free".  Depending on the point of
view, any software can be presented as a service.  To make that
shorter: how you call it doesn't matter, it's one and the same thing.

> > But if you let me use the program, or let me use the service that
> > this program facilitates (as you seem to call it, for me it's
> > nearly the same thing), I expect to have the same freedoms that
> > you have.
> I guess this is where we disagree. If I write a program it is free. And
> let's say I put it on a server that allows others to connect to it with
> free software and a free protocol. I don't think I should be obligated
> to release the source code and allow others to copy it. It may be in my
> best interest to do so, but at worst, what I've done is stupid - not
> immoral. 

This is exactly the position that the developers of proprietary web
applications (and other software that fits in that category) are
defending -- they want us to treat their software differently and to
obscure the issue.

Why you should have the right to control what am I doing?  Because you
let me use your CPU you expect that I have to surrender my freedom?
Even if you think so, why don't you let me install your software on my
computer and thus relieve you from the burden of those additional CPU
cycles and machine load?

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