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Re: DFSG2: Why is software freedom useful, and what does it mean ?

In article <13926.55880.474958.982467@chiark.greenend.org.uk>, Ian Jackson <ian@chiark.greenend.org.uk> writes:
> While I was at SANE, I gave a talk, entitled `Why is software freedom
> useful, and what does it mean ?'

> It explains in general terms what the practical benefits of free
> software are, and examines what kinds of licences allow you to get
> these benefits.

> I'd be grateful if at least some of you would read it.  It's in the
> conference proceedings, and also on the web at
>  <URL:http://www.chiark.greenend.org.uk/~ijackson/sane98-talk.ps>

> I think it might help to explain some of the background to my DFSG2
> draft.

Yes, it does actually.

As I read it, you are following ESR in putting forth that the raison
d'etre of free software consists in its efficiency benefits for the
process of software development.  This view, if I'm correct in stating
your position, I find rather limiting.  I don't find that it really
expresses the "meaning" of free software to me.

Free software also indicates a participation in a process, in a
community, which has significance and motivation beyond any actual
pragmatic benefits.  Sure, the little problems may be why we started
-- "scratching the itch".  But the movement as a whole has meaning.

At it's best, the free software movement reveals that software is a
social process, not just a technical one; and that alternative modes
for collective organization and action are possible and need to be
explored and enabled.  Highly coordinated social action isn't
restricted to bureaucratic or corporate action.

Participation in this phenomenon is both created by and creates more
free software.  It is viral.

For me, this naturally should lead to the fight for the freedom of
information, of intellectual property.  I think there are many threats
to overcome; freeing the source code is just the first step.  I guess
these are the issues I'd like to see SPI have at the fore.

Of course, one has to ask, What does this have to do with DFSG v2.
Not a lot, I guess.  Your DFSG v2 is concerned with ensuring that
there are no licensing impediments to community-building around code,
which is good.  The document as a whole is much less freindly and
"accessible" as a whole, which is bad.

I guess I'm just fence sitting, but I wanted to let you know someone
read your paper and thought about it. ;)

.....Adam Di Carlo....adam@onShore.com.....<URL:http://www.onShore.com/>

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