Freedom and Greed

Stuart Jansen sjansen at buscaluz.org
Tue Jan 22 12:47:22 MST 2008


On Tue, 2008-01-22 at 12:18 -0700, Jason Edwards wrote:
> For me, closed-source software is morally wrong because it's built on
> top of other people's ideas.

Just like making a living writing books is morally wrong because there
are only seven stories[1] and photocopiers fundamentally alter the
economics of publishing. Just like making a living writing music is
morally wrong because it's just a rearrangement of previously discovered
musical notes. Just liking licensing your software under the GPL is
morally wrong because copyright is morally wrong and the GPL depends on
copyright.

> You don't have to agree with it, but hopefully you can understand why
> many Free Software advocates feel the way they do.

Whoa, careful there bucko. You've been drinking too much of the
kool-aid, or ignoring too many of the details. It's possible to be
opposed to software patents without being opposed to copyright. The act
of creating knowledge inherently depends on the discoveries of others.
That's what the "shoulders of giants" quote is about. The act of
creating physical artifacts is fundamentally different. You're one step
away from arguing that I should be forced to work to feed you.

It's one thing to argue, now that we know about linked lists we should
all be allowed to use them. It's a completely different to argue that
because we know how to write linked lists I should have to write them
for you.

[1] http://www.cus.cam.ac.uk/~blf10/stories.html




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