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

Levi Pearson levi at
Mon Jan 21 13:15:35 MST 2008

Lonnie Olson <lists at> writes:

> No offense taken, but I think you are missing the "religious"
> reasoning in the Free Software movement.  The Free Software movement
> reasons that every user of software has a right to each of the 4
> freedoms outlined below.
>     * The freedom to run the program, for any purpose (freedom 0).
>     * The freedom to study how the program works, and adapt it to your
> needs (freedom 1).
>     * The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor
> (freedom 2).
>     * The freedom to improve the program, and release your
> improvements to the public, so that the whole community benefits
> (freedom 3).
> Any user that chooses software that strips them on one of these
> freedoms is unfortunate.  Software makers that deny these freedoms are
> not "evil", but are unkind people by harming their customers deserved
> freedoms.

Yes, I'm well aware of these freedoms that the Free Software
Foundation espouses.  I agree that those things are nice.  I don't
agree that people have any intrinsic right to those things.  I believe
that we have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Aside from those, you've got whatever rights that aren't restricted by
government or community.  Since those freedoms interfere with the
right to control how your personal creations are used, they fall
clearly in the 'negotiable rights' category, not the 'intrinsic
rights' one.  I certainly don't feel they ought to be universal.

Any assertion that those rights *are* universal must be religious,
since they clearly aren't fundamental to human nature and only God
could choose to grant them universally. :P

> Now, if you don't believe the 4 freedoms are beneficial to our
> society, then I would understand your feelings.  But I get the
> distinct impression that you feel these freedoms are beneficial.  What
> is wrong with educating people about the unkind, freedom restricting
> acts of non-free software developers?

That would be mis-education based on a faulty understanding (or
correct understanding and deliberate misuse) of heavily-loaded terms
like 'freedom' and 'right'.  Copying or modifying someone's software
against their will is just as unkind, and telling them that they can't
exercise their copyright is just as freedom-restricting.  Telling
people that everyone ought to have these four freedoms doesn't make it
so.  Calling people who release their software under different terms
'unkind' is just being childish and anti-social.


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