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Re: "Robinson, Nerode and other free beer zealots" was: A possible GFDL compromise

MJ Ray <markj@cloaked.freeserve.co.uk> writes:

F> On 2003-09-18 01:43:22 +0100 Fedor Zuev <Fedor_zuev@mail.ru> wrote:
>> 	I am sorry. As I already said, I just can't explain the
>> subject more comprehensible than I already did. So, if you still
>> can't learn the difference between "free as speech" and "free as
>> beer", I have not any cure to help you.
> One more time, as plainly as can be: I know the difference between
> those meanings of freedom.  I have not seen you provide any references
> or citations where "Robinson, Nerode and other[s]" use free/gratis as
> a reason for the FDL not fulfilling DFSG.  Do you have any?

Mr. Zuev is using what might be charitably called the Soviet system of
freedom, or with harsh accuracy called Orwellian Freedom.  In this
system, it is alright to prohibit particular behaviors so long as the
soul is free.  For example, it's OK to prohibit hate speech, because
such speech is never useful, and hearing such speech inhibits the free
action of others.  It's also OK to ban false speech, for similar

This sort of philosophy tends to produce societies of crystal beauty
and glassy fragility.  There is no tolerance for error on the part of
the enforcers, or for creativity beyond that of the lawgivers.  The
wild, hairy, quarrelsome sort of Freedom which includes the freedom to
be wrong, silly, or useless has much greater tolerance for error.
Robinson, Nerode, and others -- and count me among them! -- promote
this more anarchic sort of Freedom, which is built from a lack of
restrictions on individual behavior and a hope that it'll all work out
in the end.

The FSF has always been about taking freedom from persons to give it
to the people -- this is why there have been jokes that the goals of
the FSF may not be compatible with those of a free society.  In some
cases, that's a reasonably good trade to make.  The GPL, for example,
fails to grant some privileges to recipients of copyrighted works, in
exchange for creating a more free society.  Though the GFDL behaves
similarly, I see a pretty clear line between them: in a world where
all works are available under the GPL, everyone will be free.  In an
all-GFDL world, the mishmash of invariant sections mean that people
will still not be free, and we might be further from freedom than we
are now.


Brian T. Sniffen                                        bts@alum.mit.edu

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