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Re: Poll results: User views on the FDL issue

--- Glenn Maynard <glenn@zewt.org> wrote:
> On Wed, Apr 20, 2005 at 02:39:48AM -0400, Marty wrote:
> > Look at the word "copyright."  Notice the last 5 letters.  Now, who
> > holds it, with respect to GPL'ed software?  Who gets to pick that 
> > license in the first place?  Who can change it?  Who's entitled to 
> > enforce it in court?  I see the GPL as protecting the author's
> right to 
> > protect his offering to the community.
> Free Software, including the GPL, is fundamentally about giving up
> works
> to the "commons", allowing anyone to reuse, adapt and distribute it. 
> The
> GPL gives these permissions to the public, and attempts to protect
> users
> by requiring that they are always able to obtain source.  This is
> extremely basic.

Not quite. The public domain license is about giving works over into
the commons. This is not true of GPL and GFDL. Once it's in the
commons, it can be misappropriated into proprietary software, or
twisted to misrepresent its original intent. GPL and GFDL respectively
prevent this for software and documentation, respectively.

> > But I see your point, I guess, if you define freedom as "what's in
> it 
> > for me."  I doubt it's the FSF's philosphy, although unlike you I
> can't 
> > presume to speak for them.
> Free Software is "what's in it for the public", and it is
> specifically
> not "what's in it for the copyright holder"--that's what proprietary
> software is about.

Not always. Often the copyright holder's concerns factor into choice of
license. If the copyright holder did not give a damn about his/her
concerns, wouldn't he/she always just use the BSD license w/o
advertisement and w/o non-endorsement clauses or public domain?

> >   A complete prohibition of modification does not
> > >protect user's rights; on the contrary, it abolishes them.
> > 
> > That's fine with me, because I don't think I have the right to
> change 
> > somebody else's speech anyway, much less the need, just so I can
> call it 
> > my own.  (I tried it once in a high school term paper and got
> busted.)
> Abolishing user rights is fine with you.  Okay, that explains a lot.
> (Nobody is claiming that anyone should be able to claim someone
> else's
> work as their own.)

That's BS. No rights are per se being abolished here. The question is
whether the chance for users to see an author's words as originally
intended is more or less important than the chance to modify a
document's invariant sections.

All licenses are about rights horse trading. How much of one kind of
right do you want at the expense of some other kind? This is an age-old
question, but you seem so stuck on invariant sections that the big
picture seems to pass you by.

> > >(Your argument would seem to mean that Qmail is free, because its
> > >complete prohibition of modification protects its author's
> rights.)
> > 
> > bzzz Bad argument.  Point's deducted.  (I don't even like this
> game.)
> Snide, sarcastic replies that don't respond to my point aren't going
> to convince anyone; it my point stands.

Not that you would ever make such an utterance; oh, wait a second, _you
would_, to wit: right in the parent e-mail, "Abolishing user rights is
fine with you.  Okay, that explains a lot."

> > >I'm quite confused as to how anyone can possibly claim that
> something
> > >which can't be modified at all is "free".
> > 
> > At least now you admit the truth about which one of us is confused.
> Another snide reply that avoids actually responding to my point; this
> point also stands unchallenged.

Again, this is a case of the pot calling the kettle black!

> > If this were publishing house and debian was about something other
> than 
> > software (at least, something else that everyone could agree on), I
> > might continue persuing this, but I honestly think it's just
> wasting 
> > time and people should just get back to releasing sarge.
> You seem categorically incapable of responding to my arguments,
> confirming my earlier observation.  You're also replying to a
> civil, honest mail rudely and derisively.  I'm not sure what you
> think you're contributing with this attitude, or who you believe
> will be convinced by it.

LOL! That's hilarious! What high horse did you ride in on? I suggest
that you give up the moralizing and the hypocritical value judgments,
ignore the trolling, and get back to the issue at hand, namely:

Is it, or is it not acceptable to trade a decrease in the rights to
modify GFDL content in exchange for knowing that the content you have
received reflects the author's original intent more authentically?

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