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Re: Question About GNU General Public License

From: telford
Subject: Re: Question About GNU General Public License
Date: Wed, 21 Jul 2004 23:07:41 -0000

Rui Miguel Seabra <> wrote:

> To transmit software you loose zero of the software you currently
> possess.

When you transmit by wave-lan you lose the packets that you are radiating.
When you transmit over a modem you lose the energy required to drive the
phone line. If you have a CDROM to someone you lose that CDROM,
if you hand them a tape, floppy or any other medium you lose that too.

For all of the above mechanisms, you lose a whole lot more in temporary
copies that exist for a short while in buffers, shift registers, etc.
The only reason you don't notice this is that the machinery generates
duplicate copies as fast as the information is being lost (hmm, just like
the bacteria keep duplicating).

Guess what? It is impossible to transmit ANY information without delivery
of energy to the receiver -- whatever you deliver will contain the
information and it will be lost to the transmitter. Zero loss is not
an option under any of the physics we know of today.

> But that's equivalent to the energy you spend copying software. That's
> energy spent to actually do something.

And the something you are doing is creating a duplicate so that you
have an item which you can transmit. If you don't understand then it is
probably because you don't really know what is going on inside your
computer. It's a machine, not magic.

> You loose zero of the original
> when you make a copy, and that's true with software or with start trek
> replicators.

And bacteria, it's also true for bacteria. Start with one bacteria,
add food, it becomes two, each of which are fully functional.

> Don't try to change the point of the message.

The point was to be able to distinguish between hardware and software.
You have proven that such a distinction can only be made if you choose to
arbitrarily ignore some facts while making a big deal of others.
For the distinction to be meaningful it has to apply without needing
a special adjudicator to figure out which type of loss we will pretend
to be zero and which we will pretend is significant.

        - Tel

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