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Re: An ammendment (Re: Formal CFV: General Resolution to Abolish Non-Free)

On Thu, Jun 15, 2000 at 09:23:23PM -0400, Branden Robinson wrote:

> If not, then I ask how much sense it makes for Debian Developers 20
> years from now to be bound by a document which says we make available
> an FTP archive of non-free software.  What do we do when FTP goes the
> way of UUCP?

in 50 years time, unix might be completely obsolete(*) so why do we
even bother making a unix clone operating system now?

how about we worry about practical issues like that sometime closer to
when they might affect us?

(*) unlikely, IMO. it is more likely that unix/linux/whatever evolves to
meet whatever future computing needs we have. digressing into science
fiction/wishful thinking for a moment, by then we may all have cheap
nanotech matter-compilers and every *thing* will be design aka software.
there will be a Free Hardware Foundation with a repository of "source
code" for everyday objects (i think this is an idea that Neal Stephenson
missed in _Diamond Age_...with cheap matter compilers, there would be
realware equivalents to GNU and the FSF and Debian, and it would be
nearly impossible to police or restrict the production of any goods. of
course, such a utopia would be hard to turn into an interesting story)

> What do we do in a hypothetical future where non-free software no
> longer exists for general purpose applications?  (I.e., the only
> remaining non-free software is so proprietary -- or so marginal in
> its utility that we are not permitted to distribute it, or can't be
> bothered to.)

huh? i would have thought that the answer to that question is "rejoice!
mission accomplished". 

if this ever happens then what is the problem? there won't BE any
non-free software that we are allowed to distribute. the only downside
is that we'll all have to find something else to have flamewars
about...but i guess you can't have everything :) 

this is the eventual outcome that we all hope for, isn't it? that there
is no useful non-free software that does not have a viable free software

i don't know how likely this hyopthetical future is, but i know it's not
completely impossible. i hope it happens. the number of free software
developers is increasing daily, and some or even most of them will
continue to work on new free software projects as their current projects
approach completion (no software is ever truly 100% complete). unlike
proprietary software developers, we have the advantage of being able to
build and re-use bits of our existing collective work and this advantage
will only grow the more software we have. we only really need to develop
something once and then we can move on to new projects and/or enhance
what we already have.


craig sanders

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