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

From: Bob Proulx
Subject: Re: (OffTopic,) Gnu-Environment restrictions (was Re: Question )
Date: Thu, 28 Sep 2017 17:33:38 -0600
User-agent: NeoMutt/20170609 (1.8.3)

Robert Elz wrote:
> 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.

You are most enlightened and I will do the same with this being my
last comment here upon it too.

> Bob Proulx said (in a message with the original subject):
>   | 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.

Obviously IANAL and am speaking colloquially here.  If I were writing
a program I could be more exact.  Apparently my use of please softens
the requirement too much such that it still allows people to leave the
kitchen dirty.

I think in this discussion of free software you are conflating "free"
with the concept of "charge" or "cost".  But the "free" is free as in
freedom and not free of cost.  Which is why I often use the letters
free(dom) when talking about it.  Or "libre" which in latin based
languages have a better connotation.

But free(dom) software in the GPL sense is, to my understanding, not
without cost.  There is most definitely a cost to using it.  That cost
is that the source must remain free in the freedom sense of the word.
The idea being that if you want to dip into the pool of software that
it is just like the shared kitchen analogy I posited.  You can use it
but then the cost is that you must keep derivations from it free as in
freedom too.

This seems like a perfectly reasonable exchange to me.  In any case
the author chooses the license for their creations.

> 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.

And here I acknowledge that you are probably not that far different
from my thinking on this matter.  It is down to the very small
semantics of the word "free".  Which I emphasize is free as in freedom
and not free of charge.  Because I agree with you that there is a
cost.  There is most definitely a cost.  But where we differ (or
perhaps not if we discussed it out to the very end) is whether the
software is free as in freedom, ahem, free(dom) software or not.
Which is why I will sometimes emphasize this with libre free(dom)
software putting excessive emphasis on it.

I also note that those in the camp that don't like the GPL's free as
in freedom restriction often prefer other software licenses such as
MIT or Apache or other because they are free of charge.  There is
truly no cost to them.  That's great!  I'm happy for them.  But my
observation is that many people like them mostly so that they can keep
derivations proprietary.  There are many who take but they do not give
back.  They like it that others are charitable.  But they do not
reciprocate that charity.  And they don't like that the GPL allows
authors who choose it to require derivations to be just as charitable.
And as to whether which strategy is long term most successful only
time will tell.


Disclaimer: IANAL and use fuzzy language when communicating with
people because people tend to like it better that way.  Ambiguity of
language makes for a lot of unnecessary arguments.

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