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Re: GPLv3 comedy unfolding -- raya's research on "The Four Freedoms"

From: Alexander Terekhov
Subject: Re: GPLv3 comedy unfolding -- raya's research on "The Four Freedoms"
Date: Thu, 05 Oct 2006 09:43:32 +0200

>From groklaw comments to "Eben Moglen: A Renewed Invitation to Kernel 

> I realize that Linus was never interested in the four freedoms the 
> GPL was supposed to ensure.

The earliest reference to the "four freedoms" that I can find is around 
1999 (feel free to prove me wrong, but I've commented elsewhere and 
noones refuted it yet). 

> Here is the "spirit" of the GPL, as laid out on the FSF website. It 
> has been there since the inception of the FSF. It hasn't changed.

if you've forgotten or aren't old enough to remember, it would be 
better to do some basic research before posting falsehoods.

I'll try to help you a bit with some _facts_:

1. inception of the fsf was in the mid 80s
2. the web didn't come until the early 90s
3. the fsf website didn't come until much later (mid 90s IIRC)
4. when they did finally get a site, it wasn't the site they have now, 
which came even later
5. when the page you quoted from arrived, it didn't say what it does 
now (notably there are major differences in the parts you chose to 
highlight - an entire freedom was missing for a start)

So, it clearly _cannot_ have been on the website since the inception 
of the fsf, and in the time it _has_ been on the website it has 
provably changed.

The original philosophy was in the GNU Manifesto - a document that made 
sufficient impression on me that I can still remember where I was when 
I first read it, and can also tell you confidently _from memory_ that 
it does _not_ contain the statements you claim have remained unchanged 
since that time.

How about this quote, would this be upsetting/wrong too:

"One goal of the GPL was to ensure that if you have a copy of a 
GPL-covered program, you have the freedom to redistribute it. Another 
goal is that if you get a modified version of a GPL-covered program, 
you get the source code, or have a way of getting the source code."

[and that's it, no more stated goals]

That is what the GPL used to be about (and is essentially what Linus 
says). Is that quote "wrong" too?

I'm pretty sure, and the digging I've done so far backs my recollection 
up but isn't definitive yet, that the "four freedoms" were not even 
defined (at least as such) when Linus chose the GPL, in which case it 
should not be suprising if he doesn't feel they mattered to his choice 
of licence.

As Michael Zeleny so nicely put it, ``[o]nce upon a time, RMS wanted 
software to be as free as air [hint: see the GNU Manifesto].  Based on 
this claim, I suggested that he name a repository for the same, "Free 
Software Foundation" [Zelany said that "Frenetics" was the name RMS 
had originally favored for his private "charity".]  Had I known that 
"free as air" meant something else altogether, our misunderstanding 
would have been avoided.''


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