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Re: GNU License and Computer Break Ins

> I'm pretty sure it is the common understanding, because I've read that
> interpetation in several places; It's not original with me.

I believe you, and I hope your right . . . but

> If I'm required to distribute mods, that means I can't experiment
> with code, because I don't have time to post every version that I
> come up with.

This seems perfectly reasonable to me, but I'm a reasonable person.
Stalman on the other hand . . . Well, lets see what he has to say:

     The easiest way to get a copy . . . is from someone else who has
     it.  You need not ask for permission to do so, or tell any one
     else; just copy it.

Apparently, you have no power to prevent distribution of your
work-in-progress.  If someone makes a copy without your knowledge, tough

What is very troubling is that by putting GNU software on your system
you implicitly allow people to make unauthorized copies of it.  It seems
to be probable that if you implicitly allow people to make unauthorized
copies of software on your system then you also implicitly allow them
unauthorized access to your system.

It would be different, if Stalman would admit an exception.  That
sometimes you have to ask permission, but he won't.  There are no
exceptions in his world to the right to copy.

In fact, he goes so far as to say that he will break the law to protect
his "natural" right to copy.  Proof?  If you haven't already, please
listen to Wired's Stalman interview at


Part 4 is interesting because Stalman endorses Debian, but in Part 3
starting near the second minute, Stalman says that he will not
necessarily respect the rights of others.  In particular, when asked
about the current controversy surrounding things like Napster, he said
"I do that.  I do that.  I'll let anybody borrow and copy my records and

Let me say that I respect Stalman a great deal.  He's a man of action,
and I love reading the source he has made available for me directly and
indirectly.  However, when he advocates breaking the law, not just any
law, but the law upon which he bases his own GPL, I see him as

So, in dealing with just about anyone else, I would say, "Yes, I'm
making something out of nothing," but we're dealing with Stalman.  After
listening to the interview, it seems clear to me that, for Stalman,
nothing supersedes the right to copy, not copyright law and surely not

Paul Serice

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