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Re: LGPL vs. GPL

From: David Kastrup
Subject: Re: LGPL vs. GPL
Date: Tue, 05 Aug 2008 13:32:20 +0200
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/23.0.60 (gnu/linux)

Ciaran O'Riordan <> writes:

> David Kastrup <> writes:
>> Yes, this is a political question and a moral one.
> It is, but people approach the ethical questions of labour and
> software from different starting points.
> Most people have thought about and discussed the ethical aspects of
> child labour, and try to some degree to avoid it.  Probably because
> paid labour is over a thousand years old and the free labour
> movement's ideas about workers deserving certain rights is already a
> few hundred years old.  Society has a philosophy about labour.
> On the other hand, most people don't think about the ethical aspects
> of software.  Software is new, and the idea that software users
> deserve certain rights is barely 25 years old and is still relatively
> unknown to society-at-large.

No, software is not new.  Teaching children language, teaching them
songs, teaching them epics is the spread of software, of intangible
goods cast into tangible copies.  The stone age paintings of animals on
walls are copies of an idea of shapes, and the startup screen of Emacs
displays a GNU image reminiscent of these early ideas.

It is a relatively new concept to make the dissemination of copies a
business of craftsman separated from that of artists.  The printing
press, the phonograph are comparatively new developments that suddenly
created business opportunities able to thrive independently from the
artist himself.  And that made artists and other creators prefer to put
a stop to dissemination by choosing not to divulge their works publicly.

So that the public may yet again receive software, namely creations of
thought living through thought, copyright laws were created, to give
creators an exclusive window of opportunity where the dissemination is
under their control and to their benefit.  It is only in our times that
the corporate disseminators have yanked all the control from both
artists and the public and are using the laws created for joining
artists and the public to milk both for what they are worth.

So no, the concepts and ethics of software and knowledge sharing are not
new.  They started together with culture.  Only their perversion is
comparatively new.

David Kastrup, Kriemhildstr. 15, 44793 Bochum

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