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Re: The Show So Far

tb@becket.net (Thomas Bushnell, BSG) writes:

> The fundamental premise of free software is that copyright is an
> artificial limitation on what I can do whit a piece of software, and
> that I should be able to modify it and copy it.

That's debatable, of course.  One can get to free software via the
artificiality of copyright, but there are other ways (and historically
more common ones, I suspect):

* Software is a social artifact with significant social consequences,
  and therefore ought to be responsive to social pressures (i.e., not
  just individuals).

* If we can get people to work together writing software it'll work

* Gag!  Why can't I hack this code?  Oh, I guess I'll have to use free

My favorite is the first, which is why I think freedoms should attach
to use.  I'm willing to take this disagreement as fundamental, though
(which for the current purposes means we'll argue it out if we're ever
sitting together over a beer, but probably not 'till then).

> The reason that the possessor is special is that the only thing
> stopping the possessor from modifying or copying is the copyright
> law.  Think here of public domain as a sort of zero-point: if a
> thing is public domain, what rights do I have?  I have the right to
> modify it, and to copy it, and the basic premise of free software is
> that I should have those rights for all software.  (The "four
> freedoms" of the FSF spell out this basic premise more carefully; I
> don't mean to be setting up some different standard than that one.)

But despite the above I do want to point out that the argument about
"the only thing stopping the possessor" can easily (and, IMHO, more
justifiably) be used against the GPL and in favor of BSD-style
licensing.  Simply s/possessor/possessor of source/ to see what I

Jeremy Hankins <nowan@nowan.org>
PGP fingerprint: 748F 4D16 538E 75D6 8333  9E10 D212 B5ED 37D0 0A03

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