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Re: [Somewhat OT] Closed source software Was [Re: Hmmm. A question. Was [Re: Debian is losing its users]]

Chris Walters wrote:
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Michael C wrote:
| Hal Vaughan wrote:
|> On Friday 04 April 2008, Michael C wrote:
|>> Hal Vaughan wrote:
|>>> On Friday 04 April 2008, Michael C wrote:
|>>>> Ivan Savcic wrote:
|>>>>> On Fri, Apr 4, 2008 at 5:12 PM, Andrew Sackville-West
|>>>>> <andrew@farwestbilliards.com> wrote:
|>>>>>> I have a problem with this. Debian, in it's default install is
|>>>>>> almost assuredly GNU free. And it has the additional freedom of
|>>>>>> allowing the user to choose to use non-free software within the
|>>>>>> structure of it's packaging system. IMO that is more free than
|>>>>>> preventing people from using the software they want.
|>>>>> I had exactly the same view on that. But RMS is obviously a
|>>>>> purist, he dreams to banish all closed source from this world.
|>>>>> Like Hal pointed out, RMS believes that there should be no
|>>>>> freedom when it comes to choosing freedom itself.
|>>>>> Ivan
|>>>> RMS is more of a hypocrite than anything else. He morally objects
|>>>> to distros/*BSD variants with non-free applications in their
|>>>> repositories/ports systems, on the grounds that this implicitly
|>>>> advocates the use of non-free software, whilst explicitly
|>>>> advocating GPL-licensed software for use in conjunction with that
|>>>> ultimate proprietary platform, MS Windows:
|>>>> http://www.gnu.org/software/for-windows.html
|>>> I think what RMS objects to is anything that was not his idea
|>>> first.
|>>> Hal
|>> Honi soit qui mal y pense!
|> Merde!
|> Granted that's just my opinion, based on what I've read and less than
|> 2 1/2 hours at one of his talks (including some time talking to him
|> afterwards), so I could be way off base, but I did get the sense that
|> his world definitely starts and ends with his own views -- and
|> basically contains only his views.
|>> The FSF's list curiously doesn't mention the GNU Foundation's support
|>> for the Win32 port of emacs and gcc:
|>> http://www.gnu.org/software/emacs/windows/ntemacs.html
|> I admire RMS and a lot of what he's done.  I'm currently working on
|> source for controlling an HD radio in C++ so I'm using gcc, based on
|> his earlier version and he did write emacs (isn't that an OS or
|> religion?).  That doesn't mean that I think he carries things too far.
|> But then again, maybe it's that blindness and need of his to go too
|> far that has achieved what he has.
|> Hal
| FWIW, I don't have any particular problem with the notion -- implicit in | Stallman's position -- that there's a set of positive political freedoms
| which *morally* override the permissive freedom to install proprietary
| software.

Ah, but there are many who would disagree with that position. There was a person who once said words to the effect that someone who will not fight for freedom does not deserve it. Then there are the UN Conventions on Human Rights - - these state, basically, IIRC that the rights of the individual are more
important than any particular moral or political override.

The idea that using closed source software is morally wrong, it problematic, at
best, since:
1. If you drive a car built after a certain point, you are using closed source software (the computer that controls your engine, and the one that monitors
your acceleration and activates your airbag).
2. If you use a cell phone, you are using closed source software (the ROM chip set that controls the phone - i.e. finds the cell tower signals and locks on). 3. If you use just about ANY computer, you are using closed source software (various ROM and EPROM chips on the mainboard, and on any cards that you add on). 4. If you use a television, you are using closed source software (the tuner
and various ROM chips).
5. If you use pharmaceuticals, cleaning products, etc. you are, by proxy,
using closed source software (the software that controls the production
process, the software that the pharmacy uses to fill you prescription, and so on).

There's the rub. There are practical/political impediments to the
exercise of genuine software freedom (the whole panoply of patents, NDAs
etc.) which no software license, no matter how "progressive", could ever
hope to effectively combat. So it follows that if there's to be real
software freedom, it would have to be predicated on new and transformed
social, political and economic arrangements.

But Stallman's is a utopian position, because in place of concrete
political and economic analyses of capitalism, all he really has to
offer politically is vague talk about extending Free Software's moral
example into other social spheres.

I could go on, but I think I have made my point.

| What concerns me is that Richard, in common with many people
| half-seduced by their followers' portrayal of themselves as a
| prophet/guru figure, has stopped listening to anyone outside of his
| coterie of sycophants.

I cannot disagree with this.



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