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Re: Dangerous precedent being set - possible serious violation of the GPL

On Thu, 9 Dec 1999, Raul Miller wrote:

> I've removed debian-legal from the Cc:s.
> On Thu, Dec 09, 1999 at 12:45:07PM -0500, Caspian wrote:
> > The chain reaction is going on in the "Open Source" world, not the
> > "free software" world. We are being left behind.
> Won't be the first time.
> Last "Open" movement left us with motif as an "open industry standard".
> People that bought into that are still living with the pain.


Frankly, I believe that the problem is that people think of computing as
an "industry". By the time any field formerly thought of as an "art" or a
"science" (or both, as with the "medical arts and sciences", now
frequently referred to as the "medical industry"), all the heart and soul
has generally leeched out of its mainstream. It used to be all
about "computer science"-- now, it's all about the "computer industry".

This might seem like just so much rambling, but I feel that it is really
important. Free software will never really win, and software will never
really be of a decent quality overall, until people stop thinking of
computers-- the remarkable tools that they are-- as merely tickets to high
salaries, and start once more to think of them as what they are-- tools,
incredible tools, quite possibly the most important and versatile tools
ever invented. To put the current obsession with money in the computer
world in perspective, imagine if such commercialism had surrounded the
last invention of such importance-- the printing press.

We'd all be printing with Gutenberg(TM)-brand Printing(R) Press 2000(TM)s.
We'd have to pay licensing fees to print-- or maybe even write-- anything.
When someone noted that they wanted to become an author, everyone else
would, rather than congratulating them for wanting to do something
productive-- congratulate them on the smart career move.

It sounds comical-- but it's deadly serious. Computers are perhaps even
-more- important for building our future than the printing press has been
in building our present, and they've gone so "mass-market" that they've
started to cheese out. Software is crashy and hardware is flimsy, and the
priority is clearly on selling as much as possible. Thoughts that would
improve quality and/or freedom, but decrease profits, are poo-pood. Until
this situation changes, people will continue to be frustrated by the
ever-declining stability of modern software, and coders will continue to
suffer from draconian restrictions on source code use.


> The impact on the free software community was minor: some people
> deluded themselves with the open hype, but that just means that their
> contributions were wasted.
> Free software has an economic advantage over Slave software, in that it
> can undercut the market.  There's other issues (protocols and standards),
> but a standard that stands still allows a free implementation while a
> standard that doesn't stand still eventually leaves behind the people
> who want to use it for something that has long term value.
> On the other hand, software with a lot of marketing dollars behind
> it gets relatively broad acceptance regardless of the economics.
> -- 
> Raul

 = Jon "Caspian" Blank,  right-brained computer programmer at large =
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