Linux laptops, revisited (can any sleep like my PowerBook does?)

Levi Pearson levi at cold.org
Tue Jan 22 11:10:16 MST 2008


Lonnie Olson <lists at kittypee.com> writes:
> Levi Pearson wrote:
> Here you go again talking about price.  Trying to muddy the waters
> some more.  This issue isn't about price at all.
>
> Is it completely unreasonable to *pay* an architect for his hard work,
> and ask for a copy of the plans.  No.  In fact it happens fairly
> regularly.

The issue is fundamentally about price, or at least value, no matter
how much you try to mix freedoms into the mix.  According to Free
Software principles, you have to open the source code to *everyone*,
not just paying customers.  You furthermore have to give them the
right to modify and resell your work.  You're not going to find many
architects who will find those terms reasonable, because it devalues
the work they did.  Nor many photographers, graphic designers, etc,
despite the fact that it would be really 'nice' for everyone else if
they did.

> Again, missing the point.  It's not about restricting the rights of
> software creators to release non-free software.  It's about showing
> the world the other way, to get the freedom to use their software, to
> share their software, to modify their software, etc.

I am completely *not* opposed to showing the world how great it is to
release source code.  I've repeatedly said how great I think it is,
and how I wish more people would do so.  Again, I am NOT OPPOSED to
sharing source code.  I think sharing source code is a WONDERFUL
thing.

> It's a bit like freedom of speech.  You are perfectly in your right to
> lie, be rude to, or swear at people in the street.  But it isn't very
> nice.  Everyone already knows to stay away from these people.  Free
> Software is about teaching people to stay away from non-free software
> for similar reasons.

This is the mindset that I'm arguing against.  It's morally wrong to
verbally abuse people.  It's *not* morally wrong to release software
without source code.  If Free Software advocates were purely leading
by example and showing how wonderful sharing source code is, and how
it creates value for everyone, and how it can lead to business
opportunities, or any of that, I'd have no quarrel with them.  It's
the painting of people who do not share source code as shady
characters who are morally lacking that I object to.  I believe it's
possible to advocate sharing of source code without claiming that
the people who disagree about it are morally lacking.

                --Levi



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