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Re: LGPL vs. GPL

From: David Kastrup
Subject: Re: LGPL vs. GPL
Date: Tue, 05 Aug 2008 10:34:14 +0200
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/23.0.60 (gnu/linux)

JohnF <> writes:

> David Kastrup <> wrote:
>> JohnF <> writes:
>>> Hadn't thought of that.  But, on second thought now, I'd say,
>>> "let the best program win."  If the commercial application is
>>> truly better, maybe its superior functional specifications will
>>> inspire an open source "knock off."  If that doesn't happen,
>>> then the superior commercial application has every ethical right
>>> to dominate the market if users are willing to pay the price
>>> (dollar price as well as closed source price).
>> If people thought like you, child labor and slavery would be the
>> dominant ways of producing goods even now.  You not only mandate to
>> let the market decide about good or bad, but you also request that
>> one should not talk about morals or responsibility.
> You have GOT to be kidding me, right???  What kind of utterly
> specious argument is that supposed to be?  For one thing, child
> labor typically manufactures the cheaper product to compete
> with the more expensive one, so you're applying the analogy
> backwards.

You are quite focused about price.  Free software is not about price.
In fact, it is usually more expensive to contract free software since
the software author is restricting his opportunity of selling his
products more than once.

But free software never was about price.  It was about freedom to use,
distribute, modify and study.

> More importantly, you seem willing to speciously inject political
> correctness into the discussion, apparently trying to appeal to
> emotions rather than reason.

I am willing to not to evade politics when talking about political
terms.  The idea "may the best software win" puts the cart before the
horse.  The GNU project started with the aim to produce a reasonable
free operating system sufficiently close to the UNIX specs describing
existing systems.  By _necessity_, _every_ free software component
started out technically _inferior_ to the proprietary offerings.

So your "may the best win" attitude would never have lead to any
software freedoms being available to any person, since there would have
been no incentive to use and improve free software.

Now it is sort of an obvious consequence that freedom benefits people
indiscriminately whether or not they can be bothered about it.  Whereas
unfreedom benefits some people at the cost of others.

You are claiming that when considering only one's own benefits, the
right decisions for everybody will fall out.  But that works only in
political systems or societies or at least thought models where there
are measures against shortcircuiting the common good for the gain of
single persons.

With regard to software freedom, political systems and societies work
against it.  So that leaves the thought models and philosophical

And you want to have them blocked as well.  Why should anybody create
free software in your opinion?

You feel fine using it, but what possible incentive do you leave for
people creating it?

Yes, this is a political question and a moral one.  You can't toss them
out of the window when dealing with free software and how it comes

Sorry for that.  But not all too much.

>> The market will always decide against morality when left to its own
>> devices.  90% of the buyers are apathetic to the origin of their
>> goods.  You have to raise awareness to a level that regulation sets
>> in, regulation that actually overrides that what most people would do
>> on their own.
>> Changing perception is an important first step for change to happen.
>> It is not tantamount to changing behavior, but behavior does not
>> change all on its own.
> Making money isn't immoral in itself.

But it is no substitute for morals either.

> If you're implying that it is (I can't tell for sure what, if
> anything, you're saying), then that's just hypocritical.  From your
> own words at
> we
> have "...for the last few years I tried working on TeX-related tasks
> self-employed, but this will have to change soon since it does not pay
> the bills -- partly because of the expectation of people that free
> software should be written for free..."  Right.

No, those expectations are not right.  And I am taking the liberty of
telling that to people.  Freedom is not defined by being cheapest, and
it tends not to come cheap.  So one has to teach people to value it.

> In my experience, few people like morality preached at them,
> especially with specious arguments, and especially by people who (as
> quoted above) don't completely believe what they're saying.

Huh?  What makes you believe I don't believe what I am saying?  I never
claimed that working for freedom was supposed to be an easy way in all
respects.  Words are one way for working on it (and you want me to shut
up), deeds are another (and I certainly have created and helped create
quite a lot of free software, even spent years of my life exclusively on
it and am still dedicating what I can).

Are you of the type who only accepts the message "respect other's life"
from people who commit suicide rather that eat anything that once was
alive?  Is that not a bit _too_ cheap?

David Kastrup, Kriemhildstr. 15, 44793 Bochum

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