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Re: Licence of ts-comint

From: Richard Stallman
Subject: Re: Licence of ts-comint
Date: Wed, 23 Aug 2017 10:18:56 -0400

[[[ To any NSA and FBI agents reading my email: please consider    ]]]
[[[ whether defending the US Constitution against all enemies,     ]]]
[[[ foreign or domestic, requires you to follow Snowden's example. ]]]

I'm posting to explain the reasons for some of the GNU Project's
decisions and policies related to copyleft and defending it.  It isn't
a matter of arguing about them, because these decisions were made long
ago and are not going to be changed.

The purpose of GNU is to give computer users freedom, which nonfree
software seeks to take away from them/us.  Success, in the context of
GNU, means success in defending and extending users freedom from this

  > Just to clarify on this point: There are nonfree frontends you can buy in
  > order to build your own compiler, such as the one from Edison Design Group. 
  > know Texas Instruments uses it to build a proprietary compiler for their
  > chipsets. The GPL has not stopped this from happening,

I didn't know about that.  It's a shame that exists.  Developing that
was a blow against freedom.

Perhaps nVidia would have used that instead of GCC, but not
necessarily.  Does it do as good a job as GCC?  I don't know, but I
would guess not.  nVidia might have chosen to respect its customers'
freedom as the price of using GCC instead.

Our means to defend freedom are not all-powerful, but we have won
substantial victories with them.  GCC supports several languages,
including C++, specifically because cppyleft required organizations to
release those front-ends.

We can't win every battle, but recognizing that fact is not a reason
to give up without a fight.

This is part of the GNU Project's basic philosophy, which I state here
so people will understand the principles that Emacs development is
based on.  If you want to argue against them, please do it in
address@hidden, not here.

  > The GPL has not stopped this from happening, it's just prevented
  > them from using free software,

That's exactly what it is meant to do: to stop them from using our
free code in a program that will be nonfree.

By using the GNU GPL we allow the use of our code to projects that are
free -- that will allow us the use of their code in like fashion.  As
for the projects that will refuse to share with us, they don't deserve
our cooperation, and the GPL is designed not to give it to them.

I am confident that using some copylefted free software in their
nonfree products would have made those projects easier -- which means
that the GPL has done good service by stopping them.

                                   and thus the community from receiving any of
  > their work

The developers of these proprietary programs deny the community their
work by making their work proprietary.  That work was never meant to
be available to the free world.

Those programs work against people's freedom, so we aim to discourage
them from being written at all.  One way we do this is by refusing to
let them include our code.  Another way is by denouncing those
programs as unjust.  Another way is by organizing people to write free
replacements for them.  GNU Emacs started as one of those
replacements.  So did GCC.

  > The GPL is polarizing: There's a group of people who use only that, and a
  > group who use none of it.

The free software movement is polarizing because it raises a moral
issue and takes it seriously.  We don't just moan about loss of
freedom (for instance, due to proprietary software), we resist it.  We
fight it.  We develop large software packages to such as GNU Emacs and
GCC in order to fight it.

Educating people about the moral issue of freedom is a central part of
our mission.  Thus, Polarization R Us!

Dr Richard Stallman
President, Free Software Foundation (gnu.org, fsf.org)
Internet Hall-of-Famer (internethalloffame.org)
Skype: No way! See stallman.org/skype.html.

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