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Re: [Fsfe-uk] Mac OS X refund

From: Dave Crossland
Subject: Re: [Fsfe-uk] Mac OS X refund
Date: Mon, 21 Jan 2008 10:10:18 +0000

On 21/01/2008, Andrew Savory <address@hidden> wrote:
> > > thank goodness my OS (Darwin) is built with free software!
> I'm well aware that OS X is not completely free.

HMMM :-)

> It just happens to be better than some and worse than others, and to
> hit a pragmatic sweet spot I am happy with.

It just happens to be worse than some and less worse than others in
terms of freedom, which is more important than secondary values of

I'm sad to hear you are happy with a proprietary OS.

> > 2) Where is the Aqua source code?
> Not the OS?

Not the Darwin OS, but certainly a core part of Mac OS X, which I
assume you are referring to synecdochally as "Darwin."

> > 3) Where is the Finder source code?
> Not the OS?
> > 4) Where is iTunes source code?
> Not the OS?

You appear to be making an arbitrary distinction between applications
and operating systems.

This arbitrary distinction was made by proprietary operating systems
who set up rackets currently called "ISVs" by Microsoft.

The GNU OS doesn't make this distinction; all programs normal users
want are part of the OS, such as music library players and
spreadsheets. The OS programs are distinguished from custom programs
written by the users and their organizations privately; 9/10
programmers jobs are writing such custom code, I heard, but this is
not very visible because of its private nature.

Given that the Finder and iTunes are shipped with Mac OS X, it seems
hard to say they aren't part of the Mac OS X OS.

> > 5) Why is dtrace on OS X crippled so it can't probe iTunes?
> A very good question.

And a good reason to ditch Mac OS X asap.

> Dave: I'd argue with your statement "Not running a free software OS means
> one doesn't value freedom very
>  much personally." I value freedom very much personally (and I do get
> annoyed with people that think it's a binary equation).

I don't doubt you value software freedom, but it seems clear to me you
don't value it very much personally; this is not a binary equation, as
you say. Instead, it is a question of your attitude, IMHO.

If you said "I am using the Apple computer with Mac OS X I bought last
year and I only just realised that software freedom matters, so I'm
planning to buy my next computer with a motherboard that runs a free
BIOS and use gNewSense" that would be valuing freedom a lot, even
though you were running the same OS.

> I pick and choose where and when to fight the battles. For example, I can't
> fight any battles if I don't have a job to pay me. I can't do my job with a
> solely free computing environment (which sucks).

The idea that, because you are paid money for something, you are
excused from ethical obligations to refuse software you can't share
and inspect, is bogus.

There are jobs with solely free computing environments, I have one,
and I hope when you next switch, you'll get one too :-)

> However, my job _does_
> allow me to educate people on the benefits of FLOSS (which rocks). Sometimes
> compromise is useful, n'est pas?

In some situations compromises on software freedom can be useful (eg,
LGPL) for creating  more software freedom; with jobs, it is important
to have an agreed roadmap away from any proprietary software you use,
and to be willing to resign if the roadmap turns into a sham.


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