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Re: redisplay system of emacs

From: Stephen J. Turnbull
Subject: Re: redisplay system of emacs
Date: Tue, 02 Feb 2010 12:32:22 +0900

Richard Stallman writes:
 >     > The concept of fairness plays no role in the study of ecosystems.  We
 >     > don't ask whether it is fair for an owl to eat a mouse, or for a mouse
 >     > to eat a plant.  We just note that these interactions are part of the
 >     > system.
 >     But we are not owls or mice.  Humans in between have become able
 >     to ask whether it is fair towards other humans or future generations
 >     or even nature, if we burn oil for energy, as an example.
 > Exactly.  This aspect of things is what the term "ecosystem" does not
 > recognize, and that's why it is better not to use that term here.

I really am amused by this turn of discussion, because advocates of
copyleft are in precisely the same position.  Their *amoral*,
objective analysis of human behavior is that some humans will try to
restrict the software freedom of others, and the vast majority of
those others will see no profit in resisting.  Therefore, a free
software license that *deliberately restricts* licensees' freedom is
carefully designed, a profoundly moral act.

In fact, even in the presence of copyright or patent, an individual
always has the right to choose only software under a free license, at
the cost of giving up proprietary software, thus preserving his own
freedom.  Therefore copyleft, restricting the freedom to bargain away
the "four freedoms" in return for something else of value, can be
justified morally *only* by reference to the software "ecosystem", ie,
emergent effects of your use of non-free software on my freedom.[1]

As far as I can see, opposing the use of the *word* "ecosystem" to
clarify how the analysis is conducted is simply an attempt to restrict
the field of discussion of your position and policies to ground you're
comfortable defending.

[1]  Strictly speaking, "but I *like* to apply copyleft licenses to
software I write" is an unanswerable moral justification -- but that
doesn't justify asking others to use copyleft for their work.

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