Re: LGPL module linked with a GPL lib
On 8/3/05, Michael K. Edwards <email@example.com> wrote:
> You've got a fair point, in that RMS doesn't see his arguments as
> preaching economic superiority; and certainly many commentators have
> contrasted RMS's "ethical" perspective with, say, ESR's "economic"
> perspective. I don't entirely agree with the way this contrast is
> portrayed, and in particular I think the "ethical"/"economic"
> dichotomy is a false one. "Ethical"/"financial", perhaps; but that's
> a calculus of personal motivations that isn't really all that fruitful
> to discuss. Implicit in my perspective is the view that ethics is the
> study of human motivation, and economics is the application of the
> fruits of this study to the public sphere; finance is just
> probabilities and algebra.
I agree with what you've said here (though I use different definitions
for the terms "ethics" and "economics" than you). And I pretty much
agree with the following paragraphs, until we get to a tangent:
> RMS rejects the phrase "intellectual property", mostly for reasons of
> legislative history and philosophy which I consider insightful and
> with which I agree, but also partly out of a belief that whatever
> exclusive privileges a creator of knowledge should have over his work
> should not be codified as property rights. (He also seems to think
> that they aren't currently codified as property rights, which
> perplexes me; but that's another line of argument.)
I think his point is that because of the nature of ideas -- that they don't
exist in and of themselves, but are abstracts used to describe
communication between people -- that it's impossible to codify
property rights protecting them. There will always be cracks
in the structure.
On the one hand, you have "property". Property exists as matter,
and we have reason to believe (the laws of thermodynamics) that
mass is conserved.
Ideas do not exist as matter, and while they can be associated with
matter there aren't any conservation laws associated with them.
There's physically no way to enforce boundaries around them,
because in that sense they do not exist.
Copyright laws are written to protect the tangible expression of
creative ideas, but if you look closely enough there will always
be problems determining what is and is not being protected.
These boundaries are fluid, because it's simply not possible
to survey them or map them -- they have no locations.
Now, granted, these laws are sometimes enforced (when there's
enough money involved). But, for example, RMS has made it
a practice to deliberately avoid dealing with anything which has
even a hint of this enforcement associated with it (for example,
consider the emacs / xemacs fork).
Some people consider him rather poorly for making these kinds
of choices, but his loss of credibility in that sense doesn't seem
to have much to do with the stuff you're talking about.
Well, except that you're indicating that people seriously think of
him as a saint. But... there's also plenty of people who think
of him as something other than a saint.
Personally, I just don't think that issues bearing on sainthood are
all that interesting.