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Re: (OffTopic,) Gnu-Environment restrictions (was Re: Question )

From: Robert Elz
Subject: Re: (OffTopic,) Gnu-Environment restrictions (was Re: Question )
Date: Mon, 25 Sep 2017 05:56:01 +0700

I will send one more reply on this topic - I am replying to this message
as I agree with the change of Subject - this is off topic for this list,
which is why I will not respond any further to messages about this here.

Bob Proulx <address@hidden> said (in a message with the original subject):

  | Many people in the community have worked very hard to contribute to the
  | pool of free software.  People benefit from having this pool available.
  | I don't think it is bad to ask people using this pool of free software
  | to make derivations from it also available in the pool.

I don't disagree with that, and I don't think I said anything about good or

  | You can use the shared kitchen but please leave it in a better state than
  | you found it.

That would be fine, and would be free use.  But

        You can use the shared kitchen provided that you leave it in
        a better state than you found it.

is not.   It isn't necessarily unreasonable, but it is not free.

This, and the GPL, are just regular commercial transactions -- you give me
something, I give you something (that's called consideration in legal
circles, and just a promise to do, or not do, something, is sufficient).

While you (and perhaps even I, sometimes) might agree that the price is
reasonable, there is still a price, and software subject to the GPL is
not free.

L A Walsh <address@hidden> said:

  |     Not really -- if one first examines the nature of 'freedom'.
  | I.e. what are we free to do?  Can we flap our arms and fly like
  | a bird?

You are confusing ability with freedom.   Now flying is a poor example in
any case, as even if I had the ability, at least in most jurisdictions,
I don't have the freedom, as flying is (mostly for good reason) a highly
restricted activity.   But that wasn't your point, if those restrictions
were not there (as they were not, a hundred years ago, or so, as back then
they didn't seen necessary...) then I would be free to fly, I just would
not be able to.

In the software world the same difference applies, there is much (truly)
free software that is available, which is useless to me, as I don't have
the ability to use it (and even more for which I lack the desire).  None
of that makes it any less free.

Calling something free, or not, relates to whether or not it is subject
to some restriction which limits its availability, and which is able
to be imposed or not, at the whim of whoever has the power in the
situation in guestion.

If something is free, then there is no such restriction, and all that
matters is my ability (or lack thereof) and desire (and similar.)
If it is not, then I need to negotiate with the relevant power source,
and enter into some agreement, by which they allow me to do what I want,
and I agree to do something for them in return.

  |     The GNU license provides for a slightly modified reality
  | that allows for SW to be "free" under many conventional definitions,

If we are delving into altered realities, then I agree that almost
anything is possible, and in such a universe, any word can be defined to
mean whatever you want it to mean.   That's all fine, but is hardly helpful
when we are operating with the normal environment in which we all work.


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