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Re: Emacs Lisp's future

From: Nic Ferrier
Subject: Re: Emacs Lisp's future
Date: Fri, 19 Sep 2014 12:38:12 +0100

"Stephen J. Turnbull" <address@hidden> writes:

> Nic Ferrier writes:
>  > I am torn between a much more open and distributed Emacs (which I
>  > suspect rms won't like)
> What's not open or distributed about Emacs?  Maintaining legal
> paperwork is a cost and an inconvenience, but the GPL itself legally
> guarantees openness and in practice Emacs development is highly
> distributed.  ELPA is only going to provide more cases where people
> want to "sign papers", or to gather "papers" from their coauthors.  I
> can't see this as a problem -- Emacs will acquire more copyrights than
> it would have otherwise.

I think Emacs is free, not "open". Slightly different goals, I applaud
both. To me, freedom is, on the whole, more important. Other people
disagree though.

> I suppose it's theoretically possible that the body of unassigned and
> perhaps unassignable Emacs Lisp will grow faster than the body of
> assigned Emacs Lisp, but I doubt it.  Even if it does, most people do
> obey the rules, and the body of free software will increase.

I don't think anything in MELPA is not free. It's certainly not all
GPLed though.

And I think we already have the situation of anti-GPL people
contributing to MELPA.

I've agreed with RMS to require the GPL or compatible for Marmalade.

> The practical problem created by packages is (to some eyes) a blessing
> in disguise.  By enabling convenient separate development and
> distribution of many more Lisp packages than would otherwise exist,
> separate from Emacs core, it "exports" many APIs that would otherwise
> be considered internal.  

And those APIs that most Emacs users may come to rely on (I use the term
"Emacs" when really I mean "most Emacs users") may not be free. Hence
freedom is potentially threatened.

The FSF has the rules it has for a reason.

The openness people don't want those rules because it restricts

But when you relax the rules you open yourself to attack.

I'm not trying to be histrionic. I'm just saying it's there.

There are things we could do to battle the potential problem, making it
easier to assign copyright might be one thing.


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