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

Shane Hathaway shane at
Tue Jan 22 12:13:15 MST 2008

Levi Pearson wrote:
> Lonnie Olson <lists at> writes:
>> 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, your careful logic is devastating this group. ;-)

However, the topic has wandered all over the place.  I think the
statement that touched off this debate was "I will never rely on
proprietary software again", yet the motive behind that statement was
never clear.  Was it meant to say that *no one* should use proprietary
software, or was the poster saying that his experience has convinced him
to remain personally committed to free software?

I think the intent was the latter, partly because I could almost make
the same statement.  By choosing free software over proprietary
software, I sometimes sacrifice some functionality, but I my experience
tells me the commitment leads to unquantifiable benefits that trump the
benefits I might have gained from the proprietary features.

I think my interpretation is more correct because:

- The statement was "I will never..." rather than "No one should ever..."

- The poster was not comfortable in associating this commitment with
religion.  One might say that any sort of commitment implies a type of
religion, but that would be a very muddy definition of religion.

- While a stance like that probably comes after a lot of experience and
reasoning, what has been discussed in the group has been only tenuous
and brittle.  I think the group got distracted.


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