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Re: Free software movement similar to Islam?

From: Thomas Wootten
Subject: Re: Free software movement similar to Islam?
Date: Fri, 21 Oct 2005 15:11:31 +0100
User-agent: KNode/0.8.0 wrote:

> Some similarities:
> 1. decentralized : there is no one Pope for either,
>   although there are certainly Ayatollah wannabes in OSS
>   like RMS.

as indeed is almost every organisation historically. Other than businesses,
which you presumably consider should take the place of both Islam and the
Free Software movement.

> 2. imperialistic : just as muslim armies once attacked country
>   after country, and today there is a "reverse crusade" & jihad
>   happening,

as did the Greeks, Romans, Mongols, Spaniards, French, Germans, and today

>   OSS is entering almost every area of software use 
>   and many OSS partisans are going to an extra effort to
>   impose free software on their organizations, families, etc.

The same as what the proprietary software companies do.

> 3. no dissent allowed : just as muslims feel compelled
>   to attack anyone who speaks blasphemy, such as Salman Rushdie
>   who merely points out that the koran is merely a historical
>   document (therefore he must be killed), so alas OSS
>   supporters become very angry when any dissenter speaks
>   their mind.

The GPL is indeed a piece of ideology. Don't most groups have ideologies?

> 4. destructive : OSS radicals want to get rid of even
>   the copyright, 

Maybe a few. Most are simply of the position that some reform is needed,
principally more reasonable (shorter) timescales.

>   and the GPL is written to strip software writers 
>   of their rights over their work (read it...)

I happen to _have_ read it. It only _advises_ that copyright of
contributions be signed over to the primary developer/team or made public
domain. That's not a requirement. Remember that to contribute to a GPL
program, you are implicitly drawing on the codebase _already there_, so you
really don't have that many rights over your own code, unless you want to
take it and remake the other 99% of the app from scratch.

Contrast to the situations of developers on the team for proprietary
software. _They_ are the ones who are stripped of their rights over their
work, which gets signed over to their employers in return for mere money.

>   ; similarly 
>   muslim radicals want to rid the world of non-muslim people
>   and impose taxes and prison time or worse on non-muslims.

Actually 'muslim' radicals (inverted commas because they are frequently
_not_ Muslims) want to rid the world of even the 'moderate'(actually real,
in that they follow the Koran more correctly) Muslims.

Not that that has even any similarity to copyright issues.
Notice the Koran is distributed under a 'license' that it may _not_ be
modified, as is the Book of Revelation.

> And surely there are more similarities.

As can be drawn with any major religion or sociopolitical movement, and
probably the proprietary software companies as well.

> This isn't to say that free software is all wrong,
> but it is better to know and think about the movement
> and whether it is going in the right direction
> than to let it become evil, like islam.

Islam is not evil. Its interpretation has indeed caused many problems
throughout history, but the same is true of all major religions. Today
there are evil groups who profess to be Islamic. They are not.

> The copyright 
> for instance is so basic, to remove it would be so radical
> as to be insane.

Copyright exists to provide an incentive for authors to create works in the
knowledge that they will have a period of time to reap the rewards, *before
the work is made available in the public domain for the benefit of all*
Or at least it used to. Now copyright lasts an absurd 90 years. The original
author of a work will be dead before the copyright, signed over barely 3
months after the work is finished to a megapublisher, expires.

Conclusion: You are ignorant about the Free Software movement, copyright
law, and Islam. for the first two; be careful what you read
online that claims to be about 'Islam'.

Tom Wootten, Trinity  Hall.
There was only ever one valid use for the notorious <blink> tag:
Schrodinger's cat is <blink>not</blink> dead.

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