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Re: non-free and users?

"Sergey V. Spiridonov" <sena@hurd.homeunix.org> writes:

> Remi Vanicat wrote:
>> Sergey Spiridonov <sena@hurd.homeunix.org> writes:
>>>I will try to present an example. Let's say we have program 'A'
>>>without permition to distribute modified sources. It's not
>>>absolutely non-free - you have freedom to learn how program works,
>>>to modify it for your own needs, to distribute it without
>>> modifications. It is unique and there is no free analog.
>>>If developer agrees with such a limitation he is not able to modify
>>>this program to help his friend to adapt it for his needs. Developer
>>>will not be able to distribute modifications to others who also need
>>>such an improvenment. This contradicts human ethics, because help is
>>> ethical.
>> So, if I'm not able to modify a free software because I lack time,
>> I'm contradicting human ethic ? so I must drop my job to have more
>> time and to be more ethical ? I'm not sure it was what you said,
>> but it look like.
> If you have enough resources for living without your job, why not to
> drop your job? If you don't have enough resources and working on free
> software does not bring you enough resources for living, you will die
> of starvation, which is definitely not good.
>> If I don't adapt a software to someone needs, I'm not doing
>> any good, but I'm neither doing any bad, so it is a neutral action on
>> the ethical scale.
> Yes, you are right. Doing nothing is a neutral action. But the
> situation when your reject to help because you agree not to help
> contradicts human ethics. If nobody ask you to adapt a software you
> are doing nothing - it is O.K. The situation when someone asks me to
> help with software, and I am willing to do this, but reject to do this
> because I agreed not to do this contradicts human ethics. Notice, I do
> something: I agree, reject, will. Important thing about this is the
> reason, why do I in this stupid situation, being not able to help
> anybody. There can be two cases.
> 1. Person 'A' distributes non-free program to person 'B'. Person 'B'
> come to me and ask for help. I reject to help, since the program is
> not free. In this case I suffer from being not able to help person 'B'
> because of the actions of persons 'A' and 'B'[1].
> 2. I, myself, using my own hands distribute non-free software to
> person 'B'. In this case I will suffer mostly[1] from my own actions!
> Probably at this moment I will decide to cry "It's not me, who put me
> in such a situation. It is an author of this program, who does it. I
> want to help people.".

I have two important counter argument :

You seem to always forget that the help B might ask you is to make a
debian package and to distribute it (so he can find it). If it is a
package that can go to non free, that mean that the license does not
forbid you to do it. But you want to debian to refuse this kind help
to anybody asking it. In this case I see no difference between refusing
on principle to do it and your #2 case.

Secondly, in #2 the fact that the package is or not in non-free change
only one thing : if B need the package it will be more difficult for
him to find it. But it doesn't change the fact that you can't give him
a modified version of the package. 

Thirdly, not all non-free enter in your example. If we drop non free,
and if (as probably will be) GFDL documentation is removed from main
after sarge released, then we will have a lot of package that are in
your sense ethical to distribute, but we will forbid it for debian,
and this would be unethical. (In your definition of unethical).

Rémi Vanicat

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