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Re: Bug#158683: ITP: oggasm -- MP3 to Ogg converter

On Sun, Sep 01, 2002 at 03:28:23AM +0300, Richard Braakman wrote:
 RB> I do think that discouraging the use of patent-encumbered
 RB> "standards" is a useful way to fight patent oppression.  It sends
 RB> the message that a patented standard is a dead standard.  Maybe
 RB> companies will review their habits in that light.

As a one who lives in a post-communist dictatorship, I have a different
moral position on this issue.

Discouraging use of patent-encumbered technologies is the same as
political emigration: it is the easy way out of the oppression, but it
is nothing else but a defeat, and when you are fleeing to another
country, this defeat will follow you there. If you want to fight
oppression, you should fight where you stand, and not run away until
you're locked in a corner.

When you are retreating in such a way, you agree to abandon things that
are important to you: useful technologies become casaulty to patents and
your home and friends become casaulty to politics. Thus, you suffer
major immediate damage, while damage you deliver to oppressor is minor
and, honestly speaking, merely potential. Even worse, the fact that you
retreat without a fight actually encourages further oppression, both on
the territory you left and on territory you enter.

Instead, I would try to do some actual damage to the oppressors, in this
case by finding or creating such a way to ignore their limitations that
will not put the whole Debian project in a danger. I think making
patents practically unenforceable over free software would deliver much
stronger message.

Quoting Declan McCullagh: "Put another way, who made a bigger
difference: Yet another letter-scribbling activist or Phil Zimmermann?"
If you want to make a difference, don't just take your ball and walk
away: they don't need your ball.

Dmitry Borodaenko

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