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Freedom or Power Redux

michael posted more than 12 years ago | from the round-and-round-we-go dept.

GNU is Not Unix 309

Warhammer writes: "In his web log today Tim O'Reilly responded to Stallman and Kuhn's essay, Freedom or Power (previous Slashdot article). I think he has some great points about not getting caught up in who has more of a right to freedom. Instead he says we should concentrate on a compromise that benefits everyone, developer and user alike."

Ed. note - a brief response to Tim. A) my name isn't Timothy. (I know, I know, we all look alike. :) And B) I was trying to say pretty much what O'Reilly is saying - that all licensing, including the GPL, is an expression of power over what other people can do with the software. Hence the term "all licensing". If there were no copyright whatsoever on computer code, no intellectual property considerations at all, perhaps we could approach the state of true freedom. In the meantime, the GPL is a good way to place code firmly into a state where it is mostly free - you are free to do anything with GPL code except take it out of its free state. As far as restrictions go, this one is infinitely more palatable than most of the powers that software licensing seeks to exercise over software users.

As a more general point, I take issue with O'Reilly's description of copyright law as a compromise between creators and users. There's absolutely no evidence that the rights of users are considered when copyright laws are made. All copyright law changes made in my lifetime, nearly all copyright law changes ever, have been expansions of copyright law - if it's a compromise, it's an extraordinarily one-sided one. (I suppose you could a describe a mugging as a compromise between the mugger and the little old lady over rights to her purse.) Copyright law is more accurately described as a compromise between copyright holders and copyright holders. Other descriptions are both inaccurate and do a disservice to efforts to reform the laws.

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burst toast! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2620234)

this is a muthafuckin burst toast for all AC's everywhere!

Re:burst toast! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2620242)

What's burst toast?

Re:burst toast! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2620252)

i dunno.
toast that burst?
when i tried to type the same comment with 'first post' in it, i kept getting rejected.

Re:burst toast! (-1)

I.T.R.A.R.K. (533627) | more than 12 years ago | (#2620340)

Or maybe it's Jesse Burst toast?
That hack had to do *something* after getting canned from ZDNet.

fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2620240)

ownage

freedom = anarchy! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2620248)

we cant have that, everyone knows people need cops to tell them what to do and how to think.

C: A Dead Language (-1)

egg troll (515396) | more than 12 years ago | (#2620254)

Gentlemen, the time has come for a serious discussion on whether or not to continue using C for serious programming projects. As I will explain, I feel that C needs to be retired, much the same way that Fortran, Cobol and Perl have been. Furthermore, allow me to be so bold as to suggest a superior replacement to this outdated language.

To give you a little background on this subject, I was recently asked to develop a client/server project on a Unix platform for a Fortune 500 company. While I've never coded in C before I have coded in VB for fifteen years, and in Java for over ten, I was stunned to see how poorly C fared compared to these two, more low-level languages.

C's biggest difficulty, as we all know, is the fact that it is by far one of the slowest languages in existance, especially when compared to more modern languages such as Java. Although the reasons for this are varied, the main reasons seems to be the way C requires a programmer to laboriously work with chunks of memory.

Requiring a programmer to manipulate blocks of memory is a tedious way to program. This was satisfactory back in the early days of coding, but then again, so were punchcards. By using what are called "pointers" a C programmer is basically requiring the computer to do three sets of work rather than one. The first time requires the computer to duplicate whatever is stored in the memory space "pointed to" by the pointer. The second time requires it to perform the needed operation on this space. Finally the computer must delete the duplicate set and set the values of the original accordingly.

Clearly this is a horrendous use of resources and the chief reason why C is so slow. When one looks at a more modern (and a more serious) programming language like Java or, even better, Visual Basic, that lacks such archaic coding styles, one will also note a serious speed increase over C.

So what does this mean for the programming community? I think clearly that C needs to be abandonded. There are two candidates that would be a suitable replacement for it. Those are Java and Visual Basic.

Having programmed in both for many years, I believe that VB has the edge. Not only is it slightly faster than Java its also much easier to code in. I found C to be confusing, frightening and intimidating with its non-GUI-based coding style. Furthermore, I like to see the source code of the projects I work with. Java's source seems to be under the monopolistic thumb of Sun much the way that GCC is obscured from us by the marketing people at the FSF. Microsoft's "shared source" under which Visual Basic is released definately seems to be the most fair and reasonable of all the licenses in existance, with none of the harsh restrictions of the BSD license. It also lacks the GPLs requirement that anything coded with its tools becomes property of the FSF.

I hope to see a switch to VB very soon. I've already spoken with various luminaries in the *nix coding world and most are eager to begin to transition. Having just gotten off the phone with Mr. Alan Cox, I can say that he is quite thrilled with the speed increases that will occur when the Linux kernel is completely rewritten in Visual Basic. Richard Stallman plans to support this, and hopes that the great Swede himself, Linus Torvaldis, won't object to renaming Linux to VB/Linux. Although not a C coder himself, I'm told that Slashdot's very own Admiral Taco will support this on his web site.

Thank you for your time. Happy coding.

Egg Troll

Re:C: A Dead Language (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2620291)

Where can I get the source to MS Visual C++ and VB? I want to "share" it.

Re:C: A Dead Language (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2620330)

Well written, I would suggest that you submit that to the www.adequacy.org forum. It's a bit technical for them, but about the same quality.

Re:C: A Dead Language (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2620335)

Not a bad little troll, actually. Worth a chuckle.

First Toast! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2620256)

Yay!

Re:First Toast! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2620410)

you failed. lewser.

Stephen King, author, dead at 55 (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2620263)


I just heard some sad news on talk radio - Horror/Sci Fi writer Stephen King was found dead in his Maine home this morning. There weren't any more details. I'm sure everyone in the Slashdot community will miss him - even if you didn't enjoy his work, there's no denying his contributions to popular culture. Truly an American icon.

Re:Stephen King, author, dead at 55 (-1, Offtopic)

the_rev_matt (239420) | more than 12 years ago | (#2620286)

>I just heard some sad news on talk radio -

Probably should've just stopped there. If you hear anything on talk radio and don't verify it with a real news source then you're an idiot. It's the equivelant of taking everything you see on Friends as absolute truth.

Re:Stephen King, author, dead at 55 (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2620343)

fucking liberal.

Women - The Myth of the Internet (-1)

egg troll (515396) | more than 12 years ago | (#2620269)

I would like to take a minute out to dispel a rumor that has been oozing around the Internet for quite sometime. This is a foul and insidious bit of gossip that's only used to provoke a negative reaction from people. Perhaps you've heard this rumor: That women use the Internet.

Now, this thought is quite patently absurd. To begin with, women simply aren't smart enough to use it. A woman's mind is pre-programmed, if you will, to cook and care for children and little else. Working with a global network of computers is simply not in her genes. When put in front of a computer, your typical woman will stare at it before attempting to use it to prepare dinner for her hard-working husband.

Of course monkey's have been taught sign-language, so it is theoretically possible that a woman, guided by the all-powerful mind of a man, might be able to use some of the more simplistic features of America Online. Perhaps sending a rudimentary instant messange asking how to clean a pair of her spouse's slacks. But lets enter the realm of imagination for a moment and we'll see why even if they had the mental ability to use the Internet, most little ladies still wouldn't.

The reason for this is that most women simply lack the desire. All women find the greatest joy in life to be spent in the kitchen preparing a wholesome dinner, or in the bedroom serving her husband. While some women may dispute this, its a scientific fact that this is just a coy game some women play to attract a mate. Deep inside they all crave the glowing warmth that comes making a roast beef in a Crock Pot.

So the next time you hear someone claiming to be a "woman" on the Internet, think twice. I am saddened to say this, but most likely it is nothing more than a homosexual attempting to get his jollies with this immoral act. Remember what Egg Troll says: On the Internet, the men are men...and so are the women.

Thank you.

[Ed. Note - It has since come to my attention that there have been reported sightings of women using the Internet. However, in all cases these women turned out to be lesbians. So if you should see a woman using the Internet, she will be a dyke in all cases.]

pants (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2620272)

pants

O'Reilley : RMS :: Libertarianism : Socialism (3, Insightful)

Walter Bell (535520) | more than 12 years ago | (#2620278)

In the Free Software world, we are all forced to make hard decisions. One of the most difficult is deciding which license to use. And I applaud these two men to even consider broaching the topic in such a public way.

Unfortunately, the two viewpoints are irreconcilable. One values the rights of the individual over the needs of the Free Software world, and one values the needs of the Free Software world over the rights of the individual. RMS promises that everyone will have the right to see the code they're running, and that right will be enforced by a society who accepts the GPL. O'Reilley promises that everyone will have the right of self-determination as an author, as long as the GPL is not mainstream. The problem here is that the realization of both visions is mutually exclusive.

So, to these men, I say: drop it. Let the chips fall where they may. Let the people decide which license should govern them. It's nothing short of a vi vs. emacs or Christianity vs. Islam battle, and neither side stands a chance at winning. Let the users decide.

~wally

Re:O'Reilley : RMS :: Libertarianism : Socialism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2620333)

vi, emacs I always thought that edlin was the way to go....

Re:O'Reilley : RMS :: Libertarianism : Socialism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2620339)

No! BBEdit or death!

Re:O'Reilley : RMS :: Libertarianism : Socialism (1)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 12 years ago | (#2620394)

I agree. BBEdit's great. Not perfect (e.g. the misdesigned white space for scrolling option) but getting there.

Re:O'Reilley : RMS :: Libertarianism : Socialism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2620445)

Re:O'Reilley : RMS :: Libertarianism : Socialism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2620353)

I don't know about you, but a license that restricts what I'm allowed to do with code isn't free in my book. Software freedom is about a world of software without restrictions.

Re:O'Reilley : RMS :: Libertarianism : Socialism (1, Flamebait)

Anthony Boyd (242971) | more than 12 years ago | (#2620375)

Let the people decide which license should govern them.

Okay, I'll ask. Does anyone know of a NON-GPL license that does as described in the article: "you are free to do anything with this code except take it out of its free state." Because I like the GPL concept, but I'm getting pretty freaked out and turned off by the people behind the GPL. I'm looking for the safe & sane alternative.

Re:O'Reilley : RMS :: Libertarianism : Socialism (1)

Arandir (19206) | more than 12 years ago | (#2620475)

There are some licenses that sort of do what you want, but not quite. Look at the QPL and MPL.

Re:O'Reilley : RMS :: Libertarianism : Socialism (1)

imrdkl (302224) | more than 12 years ago | (#2620533)

Does anyone know of a NON-GPL license that does as described in the article

The article is slashdotted, but if it's O'Reilly, then I'll bet he is talking about Perl's Artistic License [perl.com] .

Re:O'Reilley : RMS :: Libertarianism : Socialism (2)

gorgon (12965) | more than 12 years ago | (#2620381)

Why should they drop it? A lively debate is healthy and helps to focus the views on both sides. People with opposing views should try to promote their views. This sort of debate allows new developers and users to become informed on licensing issues, so that they make intelligent decisions about where their views lie on licensing issues.

Re:O'Reilley : RMS :: Libertarianism : Socialism (5, Insightful)

ichimunki (194887) | more than 12 years ago | (#2620588)

They might at least consider arguing something a little farther back on each of their logic chains then, since bickering over licensing is silly. They are both sides starting from completely different assumptions and have done nothing to reconcile those assumptions before racing off to debate the merits of their conclusions.

Here is a symbolized version of this debate and why it is pointless. Tim says: x=1, y=2, therefore x+y = 3. FSF says: x=5, y=5, therefore x+y = 10. Instead of discussing the original assumptions about the values of x and y, this debate is over the value of x+y where each side has chosen its own values for x and y.

Tim says in this log: "My goal is to see as much good software created as possible."

RMS/FSF says: "You deserve to be able to cooperate openly and freely with other people who use software. You deserve to be able to learn how the software works, and to teach your students with it. You deserve to be able to hire your favorite programmer to fix it when it breaks." Note: they do not say "Software deserves to be good no matter what."

These assumptions may spring a priori from the moral and aesthetic convictions held by each side in this debate, but until they agree on assumptions, arguing the consequents is fruitless.

Re:O'Reilley : RMS :: Libertarianism : Socialism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2620399)

from your post:
So, to these men, I say: drop it. Let the chips fall where they may.

Then later: Let the users decide.

Perhaps you don't see this, however in taking this stance you firmly side with Mr.O'Reilley.

So it seems the users will decide, and so have you.

Re:O'Reilley : RMS :: Libertarianism : Socialism (3)

wfrp01 (82831) | more than 12 years ago | (#2620403)

values the needs of the Free Software world over the rights of the individual

That's an interesting perspective, but it's wrong. What is this "Free Software world" you're talking about?

The goal of the FSF is very much to increase individual rights, by calling into question the validity of a system that allows a few individuals to limit the rights of many individuals.

Sometimes, instead of saying 'many individuals', one might say 'society'. From this, the word association football rampant in this forum jumps to 'socialism', and from there to 'RMS is a communist'. This doesn't even make a lick of sense. Remember, it's the beneficiaries of copyright and patent law who are asking for state-sponsored support, not the other way around.

Re:O'Reilley : RMS :: Libertarianism : Socialism (3, Insightful)

elmegil (12001) | more than 12 years ago | (#2620446)

The goal of the FSF is very much to increase individual rights, by calling into question the validity of a system that allows a few individuals to limit the rights of many individuals.

So why do you support capitalism again? Or do you?

And before I get modded down as a troll (whoopty), I do mean this as a serious question. You are using the same rhetoric that communists have used against capitalism since communism was born.

As far as it goes, anything short of a fully participatory democracy is a case of a few individuals limiting the rights of many individuals (because, despite the ideal of my representative being beholden to me the constituent, s/he isn't really). So why are you wasting your time in the small backwater of software development and licensing, when you could be out advocating revolution to TRULY free us all?

Re:O'Reilley : RMS :: Libertarianism : Socialism (4, Insightful)

thenerd (3254) | more than 12 years ago | (#2620614)

From the parent of the parent of this:

The goal of the FSF is very much to increase individual rights, by calling into question the validity of a system that allows a few individuals to limit the rights of many individuals.

And from the above poster:

You are using the same rhetoric that communists have used against capitalism since communism was born.

Surely the staunch republicans of the USA would say that a reduction in government and a promotion of individualism is exactly the same goal as the FSF in this respect, namely the promotion of the individual over that of some limited set that govern.

This communist-capitalist debate strikes me as being rather meaningless because each camp claims the other is some extreme - the Rand followers would say 'the FSF is communism, we should be allowed to do whatever we want as individuals', and the FSF followers would reply 'the FSF is republicanism because we are promoting the needs of everyone against some governing body [meaning large monopolistic software corporations that reduce freedom]'.

The truth is, Richard Stallman doesn't want to be hindered by not being able to fix his programs when they go wrong, and he hates it. He hates it so much that he doesn't want anyone else to have this problem. This is not the same goal as no license, which is the maximum freedom possible. Stallman doesn't want true freedom, because true freedom could take away from his goal of ALWAYS being able to get inside and sort a program out if he wanted to do something that wasn't anticipated by the developers. True freedom on the part of the software company permits one to reduce people's freedom with regard to WHAT THEY HAVE DONE. This may be morally wrong to some people, because they don't have freedom with the creations of others. This is what Stallman wants.

Bit of a ramble.

thenerd.

thenerd.

Re:O'Reilley : RMS :: Libertarianism : Socialism (2)

wfrp01 (82831) | more than 12 years ago | (#2620618)

So why do you support capitalism again? Or do you?

I should start by saying I don't (or shouldn't ;) speak for the FSF, but anyway...

In a few short posts, we've created a conversation that encompasses democracy, socialism, communism, capitalism, and copyright and patent law. I'm not going to even attempt to tie all of this together.

But to answer your question: personally, I don't see any contradiction between the goals of the FSF and those of the free market. Do you? Copyright and patent protections might benefit a particular manefestation of a market for software, but I really can't see that's it's the only way, or the best way, to promote either social progress, or progress in the art of writing good software.

In a different slashdot discussion, someone made a comparison between math theorems and software. I don't know that there are any mathematicians hawking theorems for cash, but they seem to be produced in great quantity nonetheless. Like math theorems, if we are to make any progress in the field of software, we must build on the work of others. It seems to me that a system that values financial reward above all else can only get so far. In a system where everyone hoards their knowledge, everyone must always be reinventing the wheel.

People may not get paid for selling math theorems directly, but they can be compensated in other ways. Tenure comes to mind. Likewise, there are reasons people write software other than because they want to be in the business of selling it directly to consumers for profit. Donald Becker is a salaried employee of NASA and wants to network his Linux PC's so he writes NIC drivers. And shares them. I'm sure NASA is delighted to have such a resource at their disposal. How many copies of the linux kernel has Linus sold now?...

In short, we don't need our government to create an artificial shortage of programming knowledge in order to advance the market for good software.

Re:O'Reilley : RMS :: Libertarianism : Socialism (2)

Twylite (234238) | more than 12 years ago | (#2620660)

Off topic
To supplement this line: a democracy is not about following the wishes of the majority, but about compromising in favour of a majority while protecting the rights of all minorities.

This is the thin dividing line between democracy and (political) communism.

Re:O'Reilley : RMS :: Libertarianism : Socialism (1)

Arandir (19206) | more than 12 years ago | (#2620496)

The goal of the FSF is very much to increase individual rights

That may be the goal, but the means to it place the needs of the community over the needs of the individual. It's very much like socialism (albeit an anarcho-socialism): the code belongs to the community.

Remember, it's the beneficiaries of copyright and patent law who are asking for state-sponsored support, not the other way around.

That would be fascism, not socialism.

Re:O'Reilley : RMS :: Libertarianism : Socialism (3, Insightful)

elmegil (12001) | more than 12 years ago | (#2620537)

(Shoulda read the whole thing once before responding to pieces, there you go).

Remember, it's the beneficiaries of copyright and patent law who are asking for state-sponsored support

And while the current law, thanks to a corrupt congress, equates "beneficiaries of copyright law" with "corporate interests", the fact is that EVERY INDIVIDUAL is intended to be a potential benficiary of copyright law. If you are a creator of potentially copyrighted material, you are one of these benficiaries.

Again the comparison to capitalism vs. communism--each of us is a potential entrepeneur (which of course I can't spell off the cuff). At which point the protections of business are suddenly the protections of the individual too.

Certainly there are avenues for abuse, and the way our system lets money unduly influence it today is a really big problem. But the solution isn't to ban money, nor to take all protections (including the reasonable ones) away from business. It's to fix the system so money can't be the corrupting influence.

To mandate GPL as the only valid license would take away my individual rights as an author of software. And this is exactly the same place that communism has largely failed in any major attempt to implement it--attempts to dictate the good of the many at the expense of the few are doomed to failure on the rocks of human nature. You cannot legislate or impose by any power (including the power to force me to use GPL for my work) individual good behavior before the fact.

Re:O'Reilley : RMS :: Libertarianism : Socialism (2)

Twylite (234238) | more than 12 years ago | (#2620638)

Please check if you are using any software to which I have contributed (my time and effort, at no charge). If you are doing so, I would appreciate you coming over to do some of my gardening some time.

You see, I'm not so hot on the getting down and dirty side of life, but I'm a decent hand at coding. Either of which represents an amount of time and effort.

So if I choose to code up something (using my time and effort) and give it away at no charge, I won't appreciate being told under what rights I have to give it away.

In the same way as you doing your gardening (using your time and effort) should in no way imply that you have a requirement to do my gardening, just because you did your's for free.

What I'm trying to say is: I have rights over my creations. I have the right to make it closed source and sell it. I have the right to destroy it and never let anyone know about it. I have the right to make it freely available to anyone, for any purpose. And I have the right to put it under the GPL.

And unless I give someone the right, they have no right to tell me what to do with my property. Whether you consider IP property or not is actually irrelevent - my creation is the product of my time and effort.

So if you don't like my right (when applied to my "property") to restrict your rights ... then kindly remember that you don't have the right to restrict my rights when your capabilities are concerned.

See you in the garden on Saturday ...

Re:O'Reilley : RMS :: Libertarianism : Socialism (1)

andrel (85594) | more than 12 years ago | (#2620438)

Walter Bell wrote:
So, to these men, I say: drop it. Let the chips fall where they may. Let the people decide which license should govern them.
Of course the people will decide. That is what the whole argument is about: trying to convince the users (and developers) which license they should choose.

Re:O'Reilley : RMS :: Libertarianism : Socialism (2, Insightful)

fishebulb (257214) | more than 12 years ago | (#2620478)

I have trouble believing that with choosing a license is excercising power. I suppose it is, but its excercising power over your own creation. Anyone else that uses it is recieving it as a gift. The programmer did not HAVE to release it at all. He is giving rights to someone else. giving them even more power. The programmer is giving the user the power to use what software, by giving him the option of XYZ app, giving him the power to change or modify (if the programmer chose to), giving them the power on how much they can redistribute it. I use the word power here because it is a power granted by the programmer, it is not an automatic right for the end user to be able to use that programmers hardwork.

Re:O'Reilley : RMS :: Libertarianism : Socialism (1)

elmegil (12001) | more than 12 years ago | (#2620558)

hear hear. Mod this up.

Re:O'Reilley : RMS :: Libertarianism : Socialism (-1)

neal n bob (531011) | more than 12 years ago | (#2620534)

I bow to you - you have combined an absolutely content free karma whore post with a good troll - look at all the pointless replies to this. Sir - join us under the bridge for you are a true troll in the purest sense.

Anarchy (0, Troll)

docstrange (161931) | more than 12 years ago | (#2620285)

I have a few friends who are anarchists [phoenixanarchist.org] Going to meetings and exposing the gaping holes in their theories in the past was very amusing. Nice People Though. Instead of anarchists, I think they're really idealists. Problem is, The Ideal is the impossible.

re: Anarchy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2620386)

Excellent, I like people actually participating in discussions regarding anarchy. I've been taking my ideas for ways to get anarchist ideals integrated into mainstream society, and discussing them w/ as many people as possible. I enjoy the ripping apart and the criticism, and that's when I look for ways to solve these problems. Nothing better than discussing politics when you're trashed. :-)

Currently I'm looking at the GPL for ideas actually.

Re:Anarchy (1)

Arandir (19206) | more than 12 years ago | (#2620546)

When I'm in an idealist mode I'm an anarchist.
When I'm in a realist mode I'm a conservative.
But I tell everyone that I'm a libertarian.

Re:Anarchy (2)

rodentia (102779) | more than 12 years ago | (#2620556)

The truth is something which may only be approached asymptotically.

michael is a wanker (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2620289)

Well, he is. Mod me down if you will, but you have to admit that michael is a wanker!

Re:michael is a wanker (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2620322)

Oh, really??? This is the very interesting I shall put him into the international wanker watchlist. Thank you, SplashBlob Speical Elite Troll

Re:michael is a wanker (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2620357)

he is also a wooly woofter

I agree completely (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2620292)

It seems to me that the only way to get freedom in this day and age is to use open source software. It enables something that M$ can't do.

The article also mentioned a lot of insightful ideas, such as the predication of the death of M$ in the year 2030.

Interesting indeed.

Re:I agree completely (0)

kz45 (175825) | more than 12 years ago | (#2620396)

It seems to me that the only way to get freedom in this day and age is to use open source software. It enables something that M$ can't do.

the only problem is that what Microsoft is doing is also a freedom. You getting my sourcecode is not a right, its a privilege.

Who cares? In this time of War this is irrelevent (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2620294)

HISTORY REPEATS ITSELF

+MONDAY MORNING+
Cmdr Taco: I will not suck any more dick ever again.
+MONDAY EVENING+
Cmdr Taco: *slurp* *slurp* *slurp*

+TUESDAY MORNING+
Cmdr Taco: I will not suck any more dick ever again.
+TUESDAY EVENING+
Cmdr Taco: *slurp* *slurp* *slurp*

+WEDNESDAY MORNING+
Cmdr Taco: I will not suck any more dick ever again.
+WEDNESDAY EVENING+
Cmdr Taco: *slurp* *slurp* *slurp*

+THURSDAY MORNING+
Cmdr Taco: I will not suck any more dick ever again.
+THURSDAY EVENING+
Cmdr Taco: *slurp* *slurp* *slurp*

+FRIDAY MORNING+
Cmdr Taco: I will not suck any more dick ever again.
+FRIDAY EVENING+
Cmdr Taco: *slurp* *slurp* *slurp* *slurp*

+SATURDAY MORNING+
Cmdr Taco: I will not suck any more dick ever again.
+SATURDAY EVENING+
Cmdr Taco: *slurp* *slurp* *slurp*

+SUNDAY MORNING+
Cmdr Taco: Today is the Lord's day.
+SUNDAY AFTERNOON+
Cmdr Taco: *slurp* *slurp* *slurp*

Tim O'Reilly? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2620309)

Who is Tim O'Reilly, and how does he affect my mission of getting natalie portman to pour hot grits down my trou??????

Can you please stop? (4, Insightful)

seebs (15766) | more than 12 years ago | (#2620314)

Please, post comments. Don't use your position as the guy writing the story to give your comments an automatic permanent "+5, sysop".

Copyright is a brilliant compromise. It encourages people to make things available that they wouldn't otherwise, knowing that they still have some control over these things. Now, I grant freely that the huge extension of copyright duration works solidly against users - but other aspects of the law have done a very good job of balancing these things, such as the fair use rules.

In the absence of copyright, how exactly do you think games would get written? How would John Carmack earn a living?

Re:Can you please stop? (2)

hearingaid (216439) | more than 12 years ago | (#2620388)

In the absence of copyright, how exactly do you think games would get written?

We're only talking about copyright for computer programming code here. Most games have significant non-code parts, i.e. artwork and so on. Games like Myst (to use an extreme example) would barely notice if their code was no longer copyrighted, as all the copyrighted artwork would still be there.

How would John Carmack earn a living?

Now, that's a valid point. Carmack's games are an exception to the rule above. However, I've thought of this too. Read my argument here. [slashdot.org]

Re:Can you please stop? (2)

seebs (15766) | more than 12 years ago | (#2620425)

I still say copyright makes sense, it's the long durations that are screwed up. Code could have MUCH shorter copyright periods than books. :)

I don't like patents for games at all; that would prevent clones, and clones are how that industry stays strong and vibrant. If Quake could get a patent on a crucial piece of the engine, there'd be no Half-life or Unreal.

Finally, I object very strongly to the idea that some kinds of creative work should be unable to get the same protections as others. Programming is creative work, which, once done, is physically easy to reproduce the results of; we should protect it the same way we protect writing and music.

Re:Can you please stop? (1)

ichimunki (194887) | more than 12 years ago | (#2620512)

That code has a copyright is fundamentally irrelevant to the debate over Free Software versus proprietary software-- code is almost never released in the proprietary software model. Most consumer-grade and much business-grade proprietary software is not distributed as code but as precompiled binary executables. Because of this, many of the benefits of a shortened copyright restriction span do not pertain. The number of people who can alter a program given the source code is rather large compared to the number of people who can alter a program given the executable.

Generally I agree with your sentiment though. The chief problem is not the restriction of copying, but the lack of a reasonable time frame for copying. I also agree strongly with your statement regarding patents-- as is, they are too broadly applied to things like game play, math, logic, etc. They are appropriate for machines and inventions of a physical nature.

Re:Can you please stop? (1)

Score Whore (32328) | more than 12 years ago | (#2620514)

Fuck that creative shit. Programming is work! It requires a large foundation of background knowledge. There is a significant investment of effort required to produce a substantial piece of software. Certain packages could easily be compared to building a high rise building in terms of man hours and engineering knowledge required. I can't imagine why anyone would think programmers shouldn't get compensated for the actual work of programming.

Re:Can you please stop? (2)

kin_korn_karn (466864) | more than 12 years ago | (#2620518)


I don't like patents for games at all; that would prevent clones, and clones are how that industry stays strong and vibrant. If Quake could get a patent on a crucial piece of the engine, there'd be no Half-life or Unreal.

Wrong. Half-Life's engine is a licensed and modified Quake II engine. Unreal's engine is a built-from-scratch engine. Licensing the engine makes patent infringement a moot point; building your own engine doesn't do anything that Id could patent in the first place.

Re:Can you please stop? (2)

duffbeer703 (177751) | more than 12 years ago | (#2620498)

So computer code is some sort of sacrosanct expression that must be free and open to all, but "artwork" should have strictly enforced copyrights???

You've been reading Slashdot too long.

What if I render a 3-d view of video game code? Is it art or code?

The other poster in this thread is right, the DURATION of copyright is inappropriate for many mediums, and ultimately leads to the death of the "art" that was created. Videogames & applications written in the 80's are largely extinct, thanks to unreasonable copyrights that prevent others from distributing old works.

Re:Can you please stop? (2)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 12 years ago | (#2620442)

People would probably pay in advance to developers they trusted, but to escrow agents. Either they'd pay for games proposed by the developers, or they'd make suggestions, which might be weighted by the amount of money backing each up.

The developer releases to the escrow agent. It checks to see that it meets the criteria of the order; perhaps some reviewers would have to find it to be appropriately cool, or having certain features, or it would have to make a certain delivery date to avoid lower payment, etc.

If it all checks out, the escrow agent releases the game (which, because there's no copyright, is public domain) and pays the developer from the money it was holding. The agent itself might be paid from the interest on the money it held.

Personally, I'm not upset about copyright in general, but the present implementation is hardly balanced. It's great that games get written and developers earn a living, but these are probably less important goals than progress in the development of gaming, and the preservation of games for the future. (by letting people patch and port them independently, e.g. arcade ROMS)

You're hardly balancing if the only interests you're worried about are those of authors.

Re:Can you please stop? (2)

duffbeer703 (177751) | more than 12 years ago | (#2620508)

What would compel me to pay an escrow agent when the work is public domain??? I could just copy it from anyone!

Please go and get yourself a clue.

Re:Can you please stop? (1)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 12 years ago | (#2620603)

Sigh. Please go and _read_ more carefully, instead.

The order of this process (it's the Street Performer Protocol, as described more fully elsewhere) might be:

1) Carmack comes up with an idea for yet another FPS game. He announces it, and sets the price at $1 million.

2) Games froth at the mouth, and pay an escrow agent however much they want. Some people will not pay anything. Other people will pay perhaps as much as $20-50.

3) At some point,
a) Gamers break the total amount of money needed, or
b) Carmack decides that he had his sights set too high, and lowers the price, or
c) There's not enough demand for Carmack to want to proceed, so he cancels, and the money is returned.

4) Assuming that the amount of money required is ultimately met, and the game finished, the game is delivered to the escrow agent. It checks it out to ensure that it meets the specs that people were paying for.

5) The agent releases the game, and gives Carmack the money.

6) No one pays for the game again, unless they're kind of lame, or are paying for having it on CD, or DVD, or with packaging. But there's nothing illegal about dl'ing it from a server, or getting a copy from a friend either.

So basically -- during the period where payment is needed, there is no way to get the game, and during the period where the game is available, there is no need for payment.

Re:Can you please stop? (0)

Thatman311 (316281) | more than 12 years ago | (#2620634)

You still haven't answered the question. If the game will be free why should I pay for it. Yes some "investors" will pay for the games developement but how are the "investors" going to make money? This is the same flawed logic that went into the .dot businesses and you see how they turned out.

Re:Can you please stop? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2620453)

you sure seem stuck in a western mind frame..
how about getring rid of money altogether?

Re:Can you please stop? (1)

rhizome (115711) | more than 12 years ago | (#2620458)

In the absence of copyright, how exactly do you think games would get written? How would John Carmack earn a living?

Copyright has been abused and ruined, and serves primarily moneyed interests. I don't think John Carmack or any of the other original-work creators are idiots, and therefore have immense confidence that they would figure something out. The only reason people think that the economic world would fall apart if Free Software or Copyright Reform held sway is that they're simply unable to imagine a world working this way. "Fear is the mindkiller," someone once said, and in this case it precludes rational assessment of the *possibilities" of another world. This round peg in a square hole desire to create some kind of open-source dominator is just more of the same old big-biz line that got us into this in the first place.

Re:Can you please stop? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2620480)

Well put, much better than my "michael is a wanker" troll [slashdot.org] , but about the same effect. However, I have decided to continue this troll for as long as michael continues to post his inane commentary alongside articles.

US is not the only country... (3, Interesting)

MosesJones (55544) | more than 12 years ago | (#2620324)


On the point that "all copyright changes" don't take into account the user this isn't the case in the EU where some changes have been done for that reason.

One issue that isn't often addressed is the cultural differences between countries that lead to different approaches being appropriate in different countries. The same is true within different parts of an organisation ("If I can't pay it ain't worth it" to "If its free then it fits in my budget"). Licensing is about the _writer_ of the software or work which may make sense in their environment but not in that of another. Thus a proprietary license and ownership but free distribution (eg Java) may make a lot of sense if it ties in with the aims of the program.

IMO Writers of a work have a right on how it should be used, it is not for _users_ to say how it should be used as it is not their effort that created it. That said the Writer's right does not extend once the users effort has been expended, whether that be by paying cash or by building upon the artefact.

If I buy a brick, I do not expect to pay a regular license for the house.

Cultural differences are just as important. If a certain practice seems strange or odd to you probably means that your approach seems odd to them. Basically tolerance is the important deal, being dictatorial makes you as much as a fool as the guy you are arguing against.

I liked this better the first time (5, Insightful)

well_jung (462688) | more than 12 years ago | (#2620325)

When it was Kant v. John Stuart Mill.

Re:I liked this better the first time (1)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 12 years ago | (#2620574)

What a tease: would you argue that the verdict of history supports Mill (my vote), or Kant?

Re:I liked this better the first time (2, Insightful)

acroyear (5882) | more than 12 years ago | (#2620595)

who the hell marked that offtopic? that's 1) on-topic, 2) a brilliant comparison, and 3) hilarious...

*sigh*

I am I programmer - (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2620331)


All the software I write is released with the following provisions:

1. You can do whatever you want with it. You can install it on multiple PCs, reverse engineer it, even sell your copy. You own it, do whatever the hell you want to. The only thing you can't do is sell copies of it.

2. Women can only use my programs to help in the advancement of a man. For example, a secretary can use it for her boss, or a wife can use it to balance her husband's checkbook.

3. Blacks are forbidden from using my softwar at all, regardless of sex.

It works out pretty well, expecially since most bitches and niggers are too stupid to use a computer to begin with.

Actually, one more factual error... (5, Insightful)

seebs (15766) | more than 12 years ago | (#2620337)

You also aren't allowed to distribute GPL'd code without an attached political screed you may not agree with, nor are you allowed to release free software which links with GPL'd code, but doesn't contain any. Consider RIPEM; a program was released, which was self-contained, and had a sed script to change it to link with the GNU fast MP math library. They got harassed because it was *POSSIBLE* to make their code *WORK WITH* GPL'd code, but it wasn't free enough.

That's a far cry from "the only thing you can't do is take away the freedom". It is a lie, and a willful one, to claim that you can take away the freedom of *ANY* free code. If I put code in the public domain, no one can ever make it unfree. They can make their own versions with whatever restrictions they want, but *MY* code remains free, forever. No other license can say as much. :)

Re:Actually, one more factual error... (1)

Eloquence (144160) | more than 12 years ago | (#2620488)

They can make their own versions with whatever restrictions they want,

Meaning that you can be prosecuted and jailed for using or distributing a program that contains your code with trivial enhancements. This "get prosecuted and jailed" part is obviously not about freedom. Get it?

The GPL is a good thing because it uses copyright against itself. People need to stop equating the GPL with RMS -- if you like the GPL, but dislike RMS, then write your own license, it's not that hard.

Re:Actually, one more factual error... (1)

elmegil (12001) | more than 12 years ago | (#2620611)

Except that then it wouldn't be GPL and would be 1) impossible to migrate existing GPL code to, and 2) subject to the slings and arrows of outrageous rhetoric that Software Must Be Free socialists (in deed even if they don't claim the name) would throw claiming that the license is not good enough or erodes the focus of the GPL or whatever.

Do you really think that the FSF would ever use or even coutenance a competing license that was very similar but didn't include the most outrageous bits?

weblog??? (0)

rabidraven (67389) | more than 12 years ago | (#2620354)

Anyone actually able to read it? From the link in the story and from oreillynet page, I get a timeout/502 proxy error...

Re:weblog??? (0, Redundant)

J'raxis (248192) | more than 12 years ago | (#2620433)

502? I get a 302 (Found), but it doesnt actuall perform the redirect. Not to mention it is redirecting to itself...

disservice? (2, Interesting)

zoftie (195518) | more than 12 years ago | (#2620361)

I think there are distinctly two lines here:
1. Stallman Ideas are communist - no relation to way USSR implemented its ideas of communism. Rather an original idea of communism.
2. Other opensource licences are 'socialism' with fragments of communism, here and there. See Finland, other european contries.

Taken that, I think it is a disservice Tim doing for the public, trying to confuse them and make public analyse each of the licences. Why? Because most public is not able, interested or have time to pick apart lawyer made contraptions. Now if he was to say that BSD licence is good, here's why, that would let common programmers understand advantages of either and pick one.

Business being a thing that will consume anything to grow, opensource licences are usable and possibly exploitable under some circuimstances, while GPL is least exploitable - AFAIK.

Check your cache please. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2620367)

Can someone with a cached copy of the weblog please post it here? /. effect in action.

Ta,

Re:Check your cache please. (3, Informative)

gorgon (12965) | more than 12 years ago | (#2620418)

Google's cache [google.com] works.

Re:Check your cache please. (-1)

King Africa (262341) | more than 12 years ago | (#2620465)

Work it baby!

They're both right. (3, Insightful)

quartz (64169) | more than 12 years ago | (#2620393)

Those who want to make their code free should be able to make their code free and prevent anything non-free from interacting with it. Those who want to write proprietary software should be equally able to do so under whatever terms and conditions they wish. It's ultimately up to users to decide what kind of software they want to use. The "best" license is not the license that RMS or O'Reilly say is best, but the one that gets the most support from people at large.

Re:They're both right. (1)

Yankovic (97540) | more than 12 years ago | (#2620474)

The problem is that RMS's position does not allow for this.

"If you write code then it is your responsibility to make it open" != "If you write the code, do whatever you want with it"

Disclaimer: I work for a company that writes code and makes money for it. I don't like RMS's position at all. I like the BSD license... if you want to make something publicly available, which I do from time to time, then do it and let people do whatever they want with it.

Re:They're both right. (2)

quartz (64169) | more than 12 years ago | (#2620524)

So who says you have to listen to RMS? Feel free to ignore him, it's not like he's the President or anything. However, you do have to respect the wishes of other coders who chose to GPL their code. You want to use somebody else's code in your program but can't because it's GPLed? Well tough. Go buy yourself some proprietary helper code if you love it so much. Other coders are as free to decide what happens to their code as you are, and if they want to GPL it, it's because they decided GPL works best for them, not because RMS told them to.

Why is this either/or? (0, Redundant)

ahfoo (223186) | more than 12 years ago | (#2620411)

Since this is being brought up again, I'll just repost what I posted last time because it was good then and it's good now:

Arguments based on fundamentally weak propositions never succeed in communicating very clearly and that appears to be the case here. It's the rhetorical parallel of "garbage in, garbage out."
People do this all the time, but that doesn't make it a sound logical practice.
I think the initial quote on the piece by Hazlitt is very suggestive of the overall tone . . .
"The love of liberty is the love of others; the love of power is the love of ourselves."
I take issue with this quote. The suggestion being that there has to be either the love of oneself of the love of others. There is no real argument being made here, simply an opinion being stated. As a person very full of love for myself and for others, I think it's a ridiculous statement. I say you have to love yourself to love others

shedding light on a misused premise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2620439)

Ah, copyright.

The much aligned burden of so many. It is much like the lock on the shed, there, in the back. Really, no one will steal from you, but it is there to deter those who may fall, and abuse such a treat as an open shed. Better to be safer, no?

Then again, it's your fucking shed.

What the hell?! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2620460)

Why is Tom Sizemore's character always killed off in every movie he's in?!

"users" are irrelevant to licensing issues (4, Interesting)

Aardappel (50644) | more than 12 years ago | (#2620464)

this is one issue that I have never understood about open source advocacy: the talk about "users".

(pure) users can't program thus their "freedom" is a 1:1 coupling to the freedom of the programmer that is their "supplier".

The only freedoms that thus matter are those of programmers (and "users that can program", if you must). But an easier metric to compare licenses would be "Nth level recipient", i.e.:

zero level: the original programmer and licensor
1st level: the programmer that builds on the original code
2nd level and onward: programmer that wants to build on the N-1 level base.

The GPL gives "most freedom" to levels 0 and 2 onwards (the more "selfish" license), whereas the BSD license gives "most freedom" to level 1 (a license giving "most freedom" to all of them can't exist, it will always be a fundamental choice). As soon as a level is occupied by a "user", there won't be any N+1 levels after it, so "freedom" becomes irrelevant.

Re:"users" are irrelevant to licensing issues (2)

uchian (454825) | more than 12 years ago | (#2620560)

The "freedom" that users suffer from is not being able to distribute the software to other users, not being allowed to use the software as they want (for instance, your not allowed/supposed to install a single Windows XP license on multiple machines simultaneously), not being allowed to hire programmers to "add an extra level" in your model above.

Stuff like that, really. Software freedom means being able to use software how you like, whether that means installing it where, how, and as many times as you want, as well as meaning being able to change the code itself to better suit your purpose.

Well that's a lost cause. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2620467)

RMS is not interested in compromise. His continued radical views throw the majority of the moderate open source developers into irrelevance. The open source community would be better off without him.

Oh, the irony (0, Offtopic)

s20451 (410424) | more than 12 years ago | (#2620471)

I can't help but to point out the thick irony of RMS, on the one hand, arguing that open source software is all about freedom over power, and on the other hand, running for the GNOME board of directors to restrict the freedom of users to use GNOME with closed-source software, thereby maintaining power over what he sees as "his" project.

Some software has to be non-free (2, Interesting)

tc (93768) | more than 12 years ago | (#2620487)

Free software - no problem. Probably a great idea for somethings. All software being free - not so great. The problem is that it means you can't have a software business. You can have a service or hardware business that happens to employ some programmers. But you can't have a business that exists to develop software. That just doesn't seem right. Why is it okay to make money from selling hardware or services, but not okay to make money from developing software?


In Stallman's universe, software companies just wouldn't exist. It would be impossible for a bunch of programmers to get together and support themselves by developing great software. They'd have to find some other thing they could sell along with it. But suppose they didn't want to do that. Suppose they just wanted to write software - they're screwed. Those people are no longer free to just write software!


The freedom to decide to charge for some of your software is a freedom, because it allows you to choose your career. Without the ability for anyone anywhere to ever charge for any software, the freedom for programmers to just be programmers disappears.


I'm not saying that Free software is a bad thing. But it has to co-exist with proprietary software for software development as a whole to remain viable.

Re:Some software has to be non-free (4, Interesting)

duffbeer703 (177751) | more than 12 years ago | (#2620590)

Stallman doesn't give a shit about the software industry -- he lives and works in the academic universe.

Since his job & livlihood is funded by gov't grants, charity and tuition, he does not have to worry about actually producing profit.

It can be both (was Re:Some software ...) (3, Interesting)

Christianfreak (100697) | more than 12 years ago | (#2620640)

It can be both and that's the point that most people miss. The GPL doesn't say you can't sell the software, it just says that you have to provide the source and that it can be copied.

The copying issue is the problem and what I would love to see is a free license with the following restrictions:

  1. Source must be open (like GPL)
  2. The code or the program can be copied and given away but it can't be charged for or mass produced without compensating the original author or getting his/her consent
  3. Derivative works could be created but should be shown to the original author for a review before it can be mass produced or sold this would keep people from changing one line of code and calling it their own.
  4. If the original author cannot be found (and the creator of the derivative work has tried in good faith to find them), no longer supports the project and has not appointed another person to do so (i.e. the project is dead) then the work becomes public domain. This would keep people committed to their projects or finding others who would be.


I believe something like this would go a long way to making sure that developers get their due, and can earn a living by charging for software but other developers/users can make copies, share with friends, or learn from the code.

Copyrights and Licensing (2)

Gleef (86) | more than 12 years ago | (#2620561)

[Disclaimer, I haven't read Tim O'Reilly's web log, it is slashdotted]

Michael writes:

...all licensing, including the GPL, is an expression of power over what other people can do with the software.

I disagree. Copyright Law is an expression of power of the copyright holder over the users of the media. Many licenses (eg, the typical Microsoft EULA) make use of the power of Copyright and Contract Law to claim even more power over the users. It makes sense to say that these licenses are an expression of power.

The GPL, and other Free Software licenses take no additional power over users beyond those already exerted by copyright laws. In fact, they give users additional freedoms that they would not otherwise have. I would call these licenses expressions of freedom, not power.

I take issue with O'Reilly's description of copyright law as a compromise between creators and users. There's absolutely no evidence that the rights of users are considered when copyright laws are made.

Historically, yes, copyright law has had much more to do with balancing the rights of creators with the rights of publishers. In the US, the rights of users are brought into the equation by the doctorine of Fair Use, which is a matter of legal precident in the court system, not by creation of laws.

Fundamentally, however, any law is an agreement between "The People" (being those who permit the government to exist by following the rules and refraining from revolting), and those particular people governed by the law. Copyright law is no exception.

The basis of Copyright Law in the US is in the US Constitution [loc.gov] , Article I, Section 8: "The Congress shall have the power ... To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries;" Congress is supposed to legislate according to the will of the people, or at least the people who voted for them.

So basically, Copyright Law as it now stands in the US is a compromise between the users (via their representatives in Congress), and the creators (via their lobbyists in Washington). Yes, it is a one-sided compromse (observe that the lengths of copyright have always been set so that Mickey Mouse stays out of the public domain [asu.edu] ).

If you want a different balance, make sure your will is known to your representatives. If your representatives ignore your will, vote for someone else. If enough people get involved, our government still won't be perfect, but at least it will better represent the will of people, and look less like the will of lobbyists.

For those of you in other nations, the basic theory is the same, the mechanisms are different.

Re:Copyrights and Licensing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2620662)

...except that the US is turning into a state of the People (people/organizations well-heeled enough to influence or fund policy) and the people, the rest of us left to deal with what "gifts" get granted to us.

The US Congress, heck, most US governments, has not worked to the best interests of those who actually cast the votes that put them into office, but for those who have funded and facilitated their campaigns, directly or indirectly.

a reply to michael... (2, Insightful)

lynx_user_abroad (323975) | more than 12 years ago | (#2620564)


All copyright law changes made in my
lifetime, nearly all copyright law changes ever, have been expansions
of copyright law - if it's a compromise, it's an extraordinarily
one-sided one. (I suppose you could a describe a mugging as a
compromise between the mugger and the little old lady over rights to
her purse.) Copyright law is more accurately described as a compromise
between copyright holders and copyright holders. Other descriptions
are both inaccurate and do a disservice to efforts to reform the laws.


Either I have misunderstood what you have said (most likely) or you have little understanding of the idea behind copyright law.

Copyright law is (in most, some would argue all, cases) the only thing which
prevents you from making a copy of another person's intellectual property.

It presupposes that you accept the concept of "intellectual property" as valid.

Why would you want to accept the concept of intellectual property; the concept that someone else "owns" an idea, and has property rights to it?

You accept it because of the benefit it brings to you to do so. Or at least you do if you're smart.

The idea behind copyright law is that we agree as a society that
the benefit we derive from having Authors and Inventors share their ideas
is worth more than the cost of granting to them a limited
monopoly of control over the use of those works.

If you feel that this deal is no longer working to your benefit, you can agitate for a renegotiation. If we as a society
feel the same way, then we should re-write the terms of that deal.
We should all understand that whenever the terms of this deal
are changed, either to the benefit of the Authors and Inventors, or to the
benefit of the public, these changes will have repercussions.

I agree with you; since the establishment of copyright law in the United States, the terms of this
agreement have consistently been re-adjusted in favor of the Authors and Inventory.
(Or rather, in favor of the publishers. Was that intentional?)
Perhaps there is a need to re-evaluate the terms of this agreement once more.
Perhaps we need a Federal oversight comittee to manage the
national Intellectual Property and Copyright issues for the benefit
of the society in the same manner that the Federal Reserve
system manages the money supply for the general benefit of the society?

"All licensing is power" (2)

The Pim (140414) | more than 12 years ago | (#2620608)

I can't get to the article, but according to michael, a theme is that "all licensing ... is an expression of power". ESR based his rebuttal [linuxtoday.com] on the same premise: "Stallman and Kuhn want to be able to make decisions that affect other developers more than themselves.... [T]hey want power."

While strictly true, this is a blatantly unfair claim. If we accept that actions are expressions of either freedom or power (as per Kuhn and Stallman's definition [oreillynet.com] ), we must also accept that expressions of power either limit others' freedom, or limit others' power. Using power to limit freedom, we can all agree is evil. Using power to limit power, however, must be allowed in some form, unless you feel that no-one may stop thieves and murderers.

If you acknowledge that software licensing is a form of power (and it is RMS's primary contension that proprietary licensing is an exercise of power that deprives users of essential freedoms), then it follows that GPL licensing uses power to limit power. It becomes a question of whether it's acceptible for individuals to limit others' power in this way. But you can't simply vilify all forms of power.

The real difference in arguments is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2620616)

...that Stallman's dark predictions of the future where copyright law shackles the masses for the benefit of the few are becoming public policy and law in the US. Alternate predictions of GPL software infecting the world and leading to non-progress seem so much more remote and silly. Additionally, those concerned with the GPL have the obvious counter of Just Say No that the alternatives lack.

In light of current trends in intellectual property law, I humbly suggest that GPL is an excellent defense against an out-of-control system that is now being used contrary to the compromise from which it arose.

Liked the line... (4, Flamebait)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 12 years ago | (#2620620)

But the GPL is just as much an expression of power over users as any proprietary license.

Hello, RMS.

I like the project I'm working on. I want to share the source code, because I think a lot of other people might apply it in groovy ways that don't suggest themselves to me.

But YOUR viewpoint is brick for brick the same prison as the Redmond Institute for the Monopolistically Inclined.

Mr. O'Reilly, your moderate view is a breath of fresh air.

Europeans (0)

Plisken (265693) | more than 12 years ago | (#2620631)

European are fucking pussy, socialists. You can almost feel the jealousy when they try to bash the United States(the greatest country to ever exist by far), in one of their posts.
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