Articles / Use of Open Source Software...

Use of Open Source Software Should Be Restricted

Information should be Free... but what if it's used to take away the freedom of others? The GPL places technical restrictions on the use of the software it protects. Bjorn Gohla believes it should also place political restrictions on it. The advent of the Internet and Linux spurred interest in Free Software that even made it into the general media, and millions of users around the globe are happily running computers without having paid for any software. Along with the casual home user, numerous companies and governments are discovering the power of the Open Source approach.

With non-free commercial software, there is always a chain of legal contracts connecting the software producer through various intermediaries to the user, thereby theoretically giving the producer control over who can have the software and under what conditions. Usually, this involves payment of money and exempting the producer from any damages the software might cause.

With Open Source software, there is also a legal connection between the producer and the user, but it's weaker and less formal. The producer will never even know how many people use the software. With the GNU GPL, the user is allowed to do anything with the software as long as any changes to the program are also licensed under the GPL. Anyone may change or use the software, even in ways the original author does not like (see GNU Emacs versus Lucid/XEmacs). In general, the Open Source paradigm leads to consensus-based collaboration, with influence based on the participants' knowledge and dedication. This approach easily extends beyond software, and could have political implications.

This philosophy produced some solutions that would have hardly been possible under the conventional paradigm of commercial software, and along the way, it promises to promote a sense of altruism and social responsibility that's very necessary in today's seemingly egotistical world. This philosophy of openness and freedom is being extended to other areas such as music, so one may say that the Open Source philosophy is the enlightenment of the information age.

But think about this: Some time ago, I created a firewall for a medium-sized company. It included an HTTP cache that scanned the company's Web traffic for viruses and bad Javascript. While working on that, I was struck by how easy it was to modify and redirect requests. You could just take out the virus scanner and plug in a Perl script that scans for words like "democratic", "liberal", and "human rights" and, if it finds them, denies that the page was available or, even worse, substitutes something "harmless". It would be a perfect tool of political repression, at almost zero cost. And one could think of many more such scenarios; just think of IBM's alleged involvement in the holocaust. I had been aware of the possibility of using information technology to those ends, but was disturbed when I stopped to consider that you can do it with Free Software, perhaps even better than with commercial software.

So it is possible to turn Free Software against itself and the ethics it stands for (I hold it to be implausible that any Open Source programmer could want this). The possibility is frightening, but if it is possible, someone will do it.

What should be done about it? For a program published under the GPL, the copyright holder could extend the license so that the use of the software shall not infringe on anyone's rights, but how should this restriction be phrased? What would be a reasonable demand? A company denying its employees access to porn sites probably seems reasonable to most, but what about a government doing the same to its citizens?

Enforceability is another question. Open Source licenses (GPL or any other) constitute legally binding contracts but have hardly been tested in the U.S. courts, much less outside the United States.

The best one can hope for is a symbolic move, perhaps a clause appended to the GPL stating that in using the program or any derived work, the user explicitly acknowledges, fully supports, and complies with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (or something similar, to avoid suspicion of moral imperialism).

RSS Recent comments

12 May 2001 00:15 jdc2001

IBM and the holocaust?
What on Earth are you talking about?

Also, maby if you believe OSS should be restricted,
you should make an example of yourself and
start using Windows.
I'm sure Microsoft's alleged involvement with the NSA is
completely a work fiction done by the media..

12 May 2001 00:26 chronos

License as Contract
"Enforceability is another question. Open Source licenses (GPL or any other) constitute legally binding contracts but have hardly been tested in the U.S. courts, much less outside the United States."

Licenses are legally binding contracts? Says who, the people who wrote the license? Treating licenses as contracts is exactly what opponents of UCITA would like to prevent.

12 May 2001 01:48 RoninM

A Corrupted Definition of Free
Free software, of course, is about freedom. If you're going to place arbitrary restrictions upon who can use the software based upon their politics,
you've already lost: the software is no longer free. That your work can be used against you and your causes is irrelevant.
Restricted software licenses are full of crap like this, robbing you of privacy and rights. The moment free software falls prey to setting such arbitrary restrictions based upon the twisted standards of political correctness or missions, we defeat ourselves.

12 May 2001 02:26 bwtaylor

Ummm, shrinkwrap "licences" aren't enforcable

With non-free commercial software, there is always a chain of legal contracts connecting the software producer through various intermediaries to the user, thereby theoretically giving the producer control over who can have the software and under what conditions.

You are the kind of hapless fool who believes what the big software companies tell you. Perhpas you should read some of the caselaw:

Most courts that have addressed the validity of the shrinkwrap license have found them to be invalid, characterizing them as contracts of adhesion, unconscionable, and/or unacceptable pursuant to the U.C.C. Step-Saver, 939 F.2d 91; Vault Corp. v. Quaid Software Ltd., 847 F.2d 255 (5th Cir. 1988); Rich, Mass Market Software and the Shrinkwrap License, 23 Colo. Law. 1321.17 A minority of courts have determined that the shrinkwrap license is valid and enforceable. See, ProCD, Inc. v. Zeidenberg, 86 F.3d 1447, 1453 (7th Cir. 1996); Microsoft v. Harmony Computers, 846 F. Supp. 208, 212 (E.D.N.Y. 1994).

This Court holds that transactions making up the distribution chain from Novell through NTC to the end-user are "sales" governed by the U.C.C. Therefore, the first sale doctrine applies. It follows that the purchaser is an "owner" by way of sale and is entitled to the use and enjoyment of the software with the same rights as exist in the purchase of any other good. Said software transactions do not merely constitute the sale of a license to use the software. The shrinkwrap license included with the software is therefore invalid as against such a purchaser insofar as it purports to maintain title to the software in the copyright owner.

Judge Thomas Greene, Novell v. Network Trade Center 25 F. Supp. 2d 1218 (C.D. Utah 1997) (bioinformatics.ucsf.ed...)

12 May 2001 03:13 zoro98020

Nice try

Basically the assertion boils down to restricting
anything that can be used for purposes not intended
by the original creator.

Sorry, but that sucks.
Freedom isn't necessarily safe, but it preferable
to the alternative.

12 May 2001 03:17 slinksta

This isn't a matter of politics of GPL
Software regardless of the license can be used to thwart human rights, freedom of speech and so on.

But those things are not a matter of politics. Neither they are a matter of Free Software vs. Proprietary Software. They are a matter of ethics. The users decide how they use the software based on their ethical values.

As a (poor) analog I'd like you to consider scissor manufacturers. Should the sales of scissors be restricted? Should a user sign an agreement not to use the scissors to harm another person?

I'm sure you'll too see that scissors, like software, is just a tool and it is up to the users to use in a way which is ethical. There is no license or enforceable contract which would make people behave in an ethical way. If there were, I'm sure it would already exist so that we could have been spared of a dozen or so big wars, many genocides, and other such things.

12 May 2001 03:24 binaryboy

Bad Logic
Yet another horrible example of geek-think...

Political repression through web-filtering? Since when was political change realized over the Internet? The Internet, by its very nature, is ultimately controllable by the government. So what? To effect political change, we have to actually get out of our basements, walk up (physically!) to the place where political decisions are made, and complain.

If the Internet can be subverted by the government, so what? Let's walk down to the Capitol with some grievances and solve the problem; democracy is about mobilization -- for those of you who haven't left your bedroom in the past 12 months, mobilization means "moving around." You're stuck in an alternate, and very inaccurate, reality if you believe that control over something as non-physical as the Internet could somehow strip away our powers over the people who govern us.

BinaryBoy

12 May 2001 04:08 num6

This is just downright silly...
Aside from the fact that putting political restrictions on "free" software is counterintuitive and plain out wrong... Doesn't anybody think it's just plain silly?

Can anyone conceive of a government brazen enough to impose politically motivated restrictions on what their entire populace can access and what they can't, yet not brazen enough to violate a software license agreement created by some arrogant capitalist pig-dog?

Even assuming the license's details *are* obeyed -- just how difficult *would* it be to write a web proxy that filters out pages containing certain phrases? If you don't bother incorporating any caching mechanisms, even a novice programmer could probably get it hacked up in a day or two.

So what exactly is the point of this article? To encourage private citizens who spend their leisure time programming free software to take up strong political opinions which they may not truly care for? I just don't see it.

12 May 2001 04:10 binford2k

Re: IBM and the holocaust?

> What on Earth are you talking about?
>

It is said that IBM provided the databases for the
concentration camps during the holocaust.

12 May 2001 05:06 sami

I am sure that the author means well...

...but unfortunately, well is a very subjective expression.

As pointed out in previous comments, an ethically-restricted open source license is nothing more than a closed-source license, with the compensation measured in politics instead of money.

The author should bear in mind that the words "moral", "ethical", "just" or "right" are not spoken in a vacuum. They are always relative to the immediate cultural context of the speaker, and therefore carry no absolute value at all. Most often they can be simply interpreted as "ethical according to the Western Christian moral code, as ratified and enforced by an arbitrary set of directives issued by United Nations, which is itself a speaking platform for the countries and coalitions that hold the most military power."

12 May 2001 05:28 AHoff

Use of Open Source Software Should Be Restricted ...
... Never!

I am sorry, but i think you haven't understand the
word freedom an how freedom must be protected.

12 May 2001 05:33 rhoenie

Re: IBM and the holocaust?

> % What on Earth are you talking about?
> %
> It is said that IBM provided the databases for
> the concentration camps during the holocaust.

Let me correct: It was not IBM that provided databases but a german subcompany of IBM called "Deutsche Hollerith" that provided the Nazis with punch card machines to make things like massdeportation of millions of people possible.

IBM was accused because it was said that they had been aware of this and didn't stop it. Meanwhile "Cohen Milstein Hausfeld & Toll" draw back the accusation.

12 May 2001 05:58 cyberdemon

Re: IBM and the holocaust?

%It was not IBM that
%provided databases but a german
%subcompany of IBM called "Deutsche
> Hollerith"

in fact, ibm is based on this company mentioned - they
simply bought it

12 May 2001 06:12 striscio

Freedom to give your feedom away. Freedom to know it.
If you really have freedom, you can give it away for your personal choice. And you are free to want it back at any time.
With free software it's possible to find out freedom violations. To follow your example, if your firewall were closed sourced one guy after you could hardly found out if your program violates something or not.
Surrender: technic is not natural nor neutral.
Free software limits the possibilities that someone use technics to limit someone's freedom.

Have a good day,

gianpaolo racca

12 May 2001 06:37 unixman

What kind of rock is this guy smocking?
I guess that any John Doe can write and get published these days. Does this means I dissagree with the german kid (at least, he has a german email)? You betcha!

12 May 2001 06:57 hiaslboy

Re: Freedom to give your feedom away. Freedom to know it.

> If you really have freedom, you can give
> it away for your personal choice. And
> you are free to want it back at any
> time.
> With free software it's possible to
> find out freedom violations. To follow
> your example, if your firewall were
> closed sourced one guy after you could
> hardly found out if your program
> violates something or not.

That is not right. You do not have to publish what you are using. If you sell the firewall, anybody can look inside it, but if you just build and use it, you can do anything with it, without giving anybody a chance legally to figure out, what it really does.
Just my humble Thoughts on that stetement

12 May 2001 07:50 aldem

Hmm
Don't you think that selling of knives must be restricted, since they may be used to kill people?

Freedom is freedom - it can't be different, so when you do something (or before you do something), just think about consequences...

If you place restrictions on use, you narrow freedom and rights, isn't?

12 May 2001 08:28 port21

Get over it....
Comercial software can be downloaded of any warez site and used without the user needing to sign any contract. What's the different between that and OSS? So... do we just ban all software?

12 May 2001 08:35 rschroev

Open source really is *better* in this regard
When using open source software, it's easy to
check wether any evil things like you describe are
being done. With closed source, you're completely
left in the unknown.

12 May 2001 08:35 edscott

fear not

Perhaps it would be good for this political filtering to
take place. Why? Because then encryption
techniques would begin to be used more often. Too
much of internet content is send over the wire in
plain text. In fact, repressive governments are not
worried about what is sent in plain text. Even better
than filtering out is tracking the traffic to dig out
suspects. The FBI does that. Of course, the
repressive government could filter out all encrypted
data, but that would put a stop to internet sales and a
lot of harmless stuff.
My point? In order for information to remain free,
free software developers should not forget
encryption. And even if this or that free software
distribution cannot distribute such and such software
because of a repressive government's laws against
encryption, there's always India (hey, they invented
the numerical system in which all software, free and
non-free, is written in!)

edscott

12 May 2001 09:22 Tercano

Re: IBM and the holocaust?

>
> %It was not IBM that
> %provided databases but a german
> %subcompany of IBM called
> "Deutsche
> % Hollerith"
>
>
> in fact, ibm is based on this company
> mentioned - they
> simply bought it
>
>

...and Elvis lives!
It is more likely that this sort of remarks will do more harm then an open source idea.If you exagerate a little further IBM was co-responsable for the millions of deaths at Hiroshima and Nagasaki ... because the calculations of the boms were made possible ...

Databases!IN 1940-45?Maybe a server too?Back in the bunkers of Hitler?

Isn't it horror enough that such things have existed?Why do you have to drag in a story like the holocaust into the GPL or Open Source idea?What does it proof?
Every technology can be missused.The IT-technology makes no exception, be it commercial or not.

12 May 2001 09:36 bgohla

rebuttal
pertainingto the legal force of licenses the
point is that under the commercial paradigm who
gets the software is theoretically within the
producers discretion. the open source programmer
intentionally relinquishes this authority, so he
would have to resort to other means like an
additional license clause in order to influence
the way the software is used.

i can imagine that some people feel stongly for
the "hands off" policy of the GPL, but one has
to consider that no freedom is absolute,
any political system has saveguards against its
destruction. thus GPLed software is not
absolutely free either. do not believe i take
this lightly, i am well aware of the
implications of attaching such strings to open
source licenses. which is why i would recommend
the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)
as the ethical standard to refer to. it is very
well accepted throughout the world, and far from
exclusively reflecting "western" values. those
that argue against it usually have power to
loose.

demanding software users to take note of the
UDHR is not unreasonable and should not keep
anyone from using free software. all the worlds
states are bound by it anyway. what is so bad
about letting people affirm a document that
applies to them and they ought to know?

yes, political repression through web-filtering
is very possible, and yes, the internet can act
as a catalyst to political activism. you also
have to bear in mind that not all people in the
world have easy access to their legislators.

i hope it became clear from my article that it
was not to bear finality and i concede that it
involves a heavy dose of idealism.

12 May 2001 10:15 risinghigh

linux, the community starts to suck!
sorry for my harsh subject but thats what exactly
starts happening. all those people that
come here from nowhere and now their own new damn
rules. listen, you guys came probably
to linux to get rid of micro$oft, you probably
came to linux because of free software. and
now whats this shittalk about 'restriction'
'fundings' and other crap ? this community really
starts to suck, because the people start to suck
with their mad thoughts etc. now a single
person wants to change the behave of linux and
their way of beeing free and freedom over
all.

12 May 2001 10:36 jsebr

Not very well thought through
Firstly, there is the problem of it being the
first step ofcourse. You can easily see what harm
the waging of political wars has brought to the
open source community already (as in GNOME vs
KDE). And that was just over licenses. Imagine how
fscked up everything could get if everyone started
inserting their political beliefs in licenses.

But, the more obvious remark to this proposal is
that it's redundant. Any country where a copyright
license is legally valid already is "civilised"
(more like westernised, but that's another
discussion), and thus has laws that dictate the
kind of behaviour you wish to see inserted in
licenses.

12 May 2001 10:53 honeylocust

What about the war pigz?
You know, I never hear anybody talking about the ethical issues of about 80% of computer science research funding coming from the military. The GNU project's web site does make some cuts at the Java language because the Island of Java is part of Indonesia, an authoritarian hellhole that committed genocide against the people of East Timor. However, "radical" Stallman would never endanger his comfortable position with M.I.T. by suggesting that the people down the hall are working on technology that's going to help make life miserable for people in both rich and poor countries.

Just to take a simple example, ordinary people are averse to killing other people. In WWII, only about 30% of people who "should" have pulled the triggers on their guns did. Now, the military realized there was no sense in feeding, clothing, and transporting 2/3 of the people who aren't going to kill anybody, so they developed techniques of simulation training that raised the "kill ratio" to over 90% in Vietnam.

In the 1970's, simulation techniques were further refined, particularly for "counterterrorist" operations. Research in "virtual reality" began at M.I.T. for the specific purpose of training soldiers by having them kill so many simulated prople so that they wouldn't have any hesitation when it came to killing real people.

This kind of simulation training not only hurts the people who are killed, but it also hurts the killers. People know it's wrong to kill, and people who kill feel strong psychological distress which can scar them for life with post traumatic stress disorder. The reason why you see so many f**ked up Vietnam vets on the street who can't work or even manage to live in an apartment while collecting welfare is because of the use of primitive forms of simulation training. Today's more efficient techniques produce monsters like Timothy McVeigh.

12 May 2001 11:01 claviola

Re: IBM and the holocaust?

>
> %
> % %It was not IBM that
> % %provided databases but a german
> % %subcompany of IBM called
> % "Deutsche
> % % Hollerith"
> %
> %
> % in fact, ibm is based on this
> company
> % mentioned - they
> % simply bought it
> %
> %
>
>
> ...and Elvis lives!
> It is more likely that this sort of
> remarks will do more harm then an open
> source idea.If you exagerate a little
> further IBM was co-responsable for the
> millions of deaths at Hiroshima and
> Nagasaki ... because the calculations of
> the boms were made possible ...
>
> Databases!IN 1940-45?Maybe a server
> too?Back in the bunkers of Hitler?
>
> Isn't it horror enough that such
> things have existed?Why do you have to
> drag in a story like the holocaust into
> the GPL or Open Source idea?What does it
> proof?
> Every technology can be missused.The
> IT-technology makes no exception, be it
> commercial or not.
>
>
>
>

Are you completely dumb or something? There were hard disks in 1910.

12 May 2001 11:14 docelic

Various aspects of GPL and Free Software

Free Software is simply a philosophy that a group of people
feels comfortable with, uses its goods and possibly
also contributes back to the project (in whatever way).

free software doesnt force anyone to do anything, it's solely
based on per-user decision and his individual oppinion about it.

Attack on free software and GPL is actually an attack
against sanity and aimed at a growing group of people who don't "behave" as some unimportant looser thinks they should, and is regulary guided by some selfish and non-human reasons (profit, gain or control).

It is absurd that someone is trying to force people to do anything.
Imagine a stranger walking over to you and saying
"from now on, you will do what I tell you and I am ready to
put pressure on you". You'd most probably report him to the
police or leave him in such a bad physical state that he couldn't
really put pressure on anything.

12 May 2001 13:35 bergo

Hello Saruman, Boromir
You're living your life calmly and suddenly find a tool capable of serious modification of the world and the lives of the other people that live on it (be this tool software or The One Ring).

Then suddenly you realize you could use this power to restrict people from restricting others from being free. You choose to use the tool to enforce YOUR ideas on the world. Why let anyone else be the tyrant if you can be it yourself ?

This article is braindead (ensure freedom by taking freedom away). This is the kind of guy who read the
Lord of the Rings and think Boromir and Saruman were the righteous ones. I strongly suggest him applying for a job at Microsoft.

12 May 2001 14:20 radish

Re: Nice try

> Freedom isn't necessarily safe, but it
> preferable to the alternative.

right. in fact freedom is inherently dangerous and
comes at a price (I believe eternal vigilance is the going
rate). your freedom to hack /bin/login gives somebody
else the freedom to hack /bin/login, which makes it your
responsibility to prevent them from hacking your
/bin/login

12 May 2001 14:28 waldoj

"Ethics" Are Arbitrary
This is a step in the wrong direction, Bjorn. I think that the first major hurdle is that ethics are an arbitrary concept. Though I'm sure that there are ethics majors that could probably provide far more detail than I'm capable of, I'm sure we can all agree that everybody's concept of ethics is different.

You would require that the user agree to uphold the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. I've got to say, I'm less than thrilled with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This is a law passed prior to my birth, over which I have no say, that I am forced to comply with. Unlike American laws, even Constitutional ones, there's no method (that I'm aware of) by which I could go about getting this modified to suit my beliefs. Who decided that "holidays with pay" are a fundamental human right? Who decided that happiness is not a fundamental right? (You'll notice that it's lacking from the bill.) I don't know about you, but I have trouble supporting a declaration of human rights that says that we get holidays without pay, but we don't get to be happy.

I think my favorite part is Article 20 (2), which says that "no one may be compelled to belong to an association." OK, so how do I get out of this association of existence that requires me to be affected by this bill?

Even this shiny-happy world-wide declaration of rights isn't up to par. What makes you think that you'll establish a standard so good that it will be OK to take the "free&quot out of "free software?"

12 May 2001 15:03 ramsejc

Who let this guy in here???
After reading this article, I think that the use of a computer while smoking CRACK should be restricted.

I mean, the point of open source is to allow your users to alter the software to do what they want / need it to do. If that is block sites, you'll have to find a way to get around that. Remember, we are not supposed to be able to watch DVDs in Linux, but we can. There is a new copyright signal in music, but ( I think it was ) Stanford U. had a crack for that moments after it was released. The best part about the GPL is that any changes to a program that is GPLed have to be GPLed too. How hard would it be to get around a GPL content filter? Just look at the source, and see how they did it.

Finally, this idea of the government using open source sw to content filter: If we had to, I'm sure we could overturn that sort of thing. I mean, I'm just as dissapointed with our government as the next guy, but we are still in control if we want to take a stand. In Washington St., where I live, we just decided to outlaw excessive taxes on vehicle tabs. My yearly car license went from like $350 per year to like $33. We can control the government if we need to. And I think we might want to get ready. But leave open source out of it....

12 May 2001 15:06 dcturner

I fail to see the connection
I'm sorry, but I fail to see the connection between the GPL and the kind of abuse of human rights you're talking about. If a government or a large corporation wishes to censor information, they certainly have the capabilities to do so in-house. How would adding a 'be nice' term to the GPL affect all the non-GPL software they would use instead, assuming of course that they honour the terms of the license anyway?

And all that is aside from the points already made about the meaning of "free" in free software, and the practical difficulty (impossibility?) of clearly defining what you mean by 'nice' behaviour.

12 May 2001 15:15 swiftfox

Re: Use of Open Source Software Should Be Restricted ...

> ... Never!
>
> I am sorry, but i think you haven't
> understand the
> word freedom an how freedom must be
> protected.
>

Perhaps by implementing the policy in your
.sig? :-)

12 May 2001 15:19 ebh

Re: This isn't a matter of politics of GPL

> As a (poor) analog I'd like you to
> consider scissor manufacturers. Should
> the sales of scissors be restricted?
> Should a user sign an agreement not to
> use the scissors to harm another person?
>
>
> I'm sure you'll too see that scissors,
> like software, is just a tool and it is
> up to the users to use in a way which is
> ethical. There is no license or
> enforceable contract which would make
> people behave in an ethical way. If
> there were, I'm sure it would already
> exist so that we could have been spared
> of a dozen or so big wars, many
> genocides, and other such things.

Your anlog with the scissors is good, only you overlooked one point. It is already illegal to harm someone with a pair of scissors. It is normaly called assult. Indeed in a case here in Australia, a pair of scissors were classified as a deadly weapon.

Includeing a proper use clause in the GPL would be redundent for the same reason. The author of the artical even mentioned the relivate law, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which already takes proirity over the GPL.

12 May 2001 17:02 iamdamaged

Holocaust? wtf has that got to do with OSS?
"just think of IBM's alleged involvement in the holocaust"

jesus, you guys will let _anyone_ do a write-up

12 May 2001 17:05 andrewcooke

Cultural differences
Interesting article, and I share your concerns. Addressing some of the critical points here:

- Restrictions already exist. The GPL, for example, prevents commerical use of the software (in a certain sense).

- Yes, moral decisions may be relative, but that doesn't mean that they don't exist or shouldn't be expressed. I don't see anything inconsistent, irrational or stupid in an author restricting the use of their work according to ethical considerations (again, that's what the GPL does - there's nothing special about the moral goodness of "free").

- I wrote the first version of "Pancito" (it's here on Freshmeat if you're interested) near the beginning of the most recent troubles in the occupied territories/Israel and added a rider myself (you can see it at the end of the documentation) saying "However, I ask that it is not used by Israeli citizens living in Israel". While I have no idea whether it's legally binding, I felt that simply adding it might make someone, somewhere, think about the problem, and try and understand why I would write such a thing.

12 May 2001 17:07 aaronp

Re: License as Contract

> "Enforceability is another question.
> Open Source licenses (GPL or any other)
> constitute legally binding contracts but
> have hardly been tested in the U.S.
> courts, much less outside the United
> States."
>
> Licenses are legally binding
> contracts? Says who, the people who
> wrote the license? Treating licenses as
> contracts is exactly what opponents of
> UCITA would like to prevent.

If you don't accept the license, then the author grants you absolutely NO RIGHTS to use the software in any way at all. This has nothing to do with the UCITA. The UCITA makes a contract binding when the user does certain things (like break a seal or install the software), whereas the GPL simply grants you rights to use the software IF YOU ACCEPT IT. It's a legally binding contract just like any other.

12 May 2001 17:08 iamdamaged

Re: rebuttal

> pertainingto the legal force of licenses
> the
> point is that under the commercial
> paradigm who
> gets the software is theoretically
> within the
> producers discretion. the open source
> programmer
> intentionally relinquishes this
> authority, so he
> would have to resort to other means
> like an
> additional license clause in order to
> influence
> the way the software is used.
>
>
> i can imagine that some people feel
> stongly for
> the "hands off" policy of
> the GPL, but one has
> to consider that no freedom is
> absolute,
> any political system has saveguards
> against its
> destruction. thus GPLed software is
> not
> absolutely free either. do not believe
> i take
> this lightly, i am well aware of the
>
> implications of attaching such strings
> to open
> source licenses. which is why i would
> recommend
> the Universal Declaration of Human
> Rights (UDHR)
> as the ethical standard to refer to.
> it is very
> well accepted throughout the world,
> and far from
> exclusively reflecting
> "western" values. those
> that argue against it usually have
> power to
> loose.
>
> demanding software users to take note
> of the
> UDHR is not unreasonable and should
> not keep
> anyone from using free software. all
> the worlds
> states are bound by it anyway. what is
> so bad
> about letting people affirm a document
> that
> applies to them and they ought to
> know?
>
> yes, political repression through
> web-filtering
> is very possible, and yes, the
> internet can act
> as a catalyst to political activism.
> you also
> have to bear in mind that not all
> people in the
> world have easy access to their
> legislators.
>
> i hope it became clear from my article
> that it
> was not to bear finality and i concede
> that it
> involves a heavy dose of idealism.

This is not about human rights, it is about software..I'll wager your a liberal..pfft...quit looking for dragons to slay and princesses to rescue.

12 May 2001 17:23 iamdamaged

Re: Cultural differences

> Interesting article, and I share your
> concerns. Addressing some of the
> critical points here:
>
> - Restrictions already exist. The
> GPL, for example, prevents commerical
> use of the software (in a certain
> sense).
(That is why it is called FREE)
> - Yes, moral decisions may be
> relative, but that doesn't mean that
> they don't exist or shouldn't be
> expressed. I don't see anything
> inconsistent, irrational or stupid in an
> author restricting the use of their work
> according to ethical considerations
> (again, that's what the GPL does -
> there's nothing special about the moral
> goodness of "free").
(FREE does not describe morality in any way shape or form, where are you getting this crud?
> - I wrote the first version of
> "Pancito" (it's here on
> Freshmeat if you're interested) near the
> beginning of the most recent troubles in
> the occupied territories/Israel and
> added a rider myself (you can see it at
> the end of the documentation) saying
> "However, I ask that it is not used
> by Israeli citizens living in
> Israel". While I have no idea
> whether it's legally binding, I felt
> that simply adding it might make
> someone, somewhere, think about the
> problem, and try and understand why I
> would write such a thing.

(UG...an obvious attempt at spamming his software...low rent man very low rent..

12 May 2001 17:26 andrewcooke

Re: Cultural differences

Sorry - I thought it was pretty relevant. You know of any other examples? I thought I had hit the right balance by not giving a URL - that way people can check if they want.

But I guess ad-hominen attacks are easier than making a rational argument, right?

12 May 2001 17:30 iamdamaged

Re: Cultural differences

> But I guess ad-hominen attacks are
> easier than making a rational argument,
> right?

Funny, I was just about to reply with the exact same thing. Practice what you preach spammer.

12 May 2001 17:34 andrewcooke

Re: Cultural differences
So still no rational argument?

12 May 2001 17:35 iamdamaged

Re: Cultural differences

> So still no rational argument?
>

One cannot provide rational where there is none to begin with.

12 May 2001 17:37 andrewcooke

Re: Cultural differences
OK, I'll try and make it clearer. Why shouldn't someone ask that their own creation be used in accordance with their own moral values?

12 May 2001 17:42 andrewcooke

Re: Cultural differences

> % (again, that's what the GPL does - there's nothing special about the
> % moral goodness of "free").
> (FREE does not describe morality in any way shape or form, where are you
> getting this crud?

What I'm saying is that there is no difference between asking that software be free (the GPL) and asking that it not be used by the military, say. Whether you prefer one or the other depends on your morals. If you don't think this is a moral problem, how would you choose one or the other?

12 May 2001 17:43 iamdamaged

Re: Cultural differences

> OK, I'll try and make it clearer. Why
> shouldn't someone ask that their own
> creation be used in accordance with
> their own moral values?
>

If a person creates software meant to be free, and releases it under GPL, then the creator looses control over every copy (I mean really how would one enforce individual morals upon others?), if a person creates something that might be used to go against the creators morals, then the creator should NOT release it..period, to expect people to bow down to YOUR beleifs in exchange to use your software is not only illogical but sounds alot like dictatorship, and persoanlly I think the whole thing is bunk. Think about how silly your argument is. i.e. This software falls under MPL (moral public licensing) and to use this software you must not add anything that goes against my god buddha(for example) you are not allowed to put anything in it reffering to your god unless it is buddha...........sounds silly don't it, well that is what your defending.

12 May 2001 17:50 johnmeacham

please!
The GPL is not a contract!
The GPL is ont a contract!

you CANNOT restrict use of a product under copyright law, the only thing you can restrict is duplication and distribution and this is what the GPL does. it is ILLEGAL to break copyright law and go against an authors wishes in terms of duplication. this has nothing to do with agreeing to anything or 'signing' the licence or being 18 or whatnot. it is straight out illegal to distribute copyrighted material without permission of the author.

A contract is an agreement between two entities which is VOLUNTARILY entered into. of course the provider of the software may not distribute the software to you unless you agree to the contract, but it is a completely seperate legal mess. for one thing in most countries you must be a certain age to enter into contracts and there are all sorts of vauge laws which govern which contracts are enforceable and which arn't.

the GPL is not a contract, it CANNOT enfore use restrictions. in fact I dont believe it should be possible to enforce use restrictions without an explicit written and SIGNED contract, click through contracts should not be enforcable. (but this is a different rant.)

sorry for the rant, but i get the feeling people don't know the difference between contract and copyright law a lot. (and it's know wonder when most commercial software comes with a combined contract restateing what is already guarenteed by copyright law (no duplication) as well as other stipulations which must be agreed to as part of a contract. the first is redundant since copyright violation is automatically illegal. and the second shouldnt be enforceable in my opinion but saddly might be at the moment.

12 May 2001 17:58 plumeyer

Voll verpeilt
Hi Björn,

daß Du ein bißchen mit einem Proxy gespielt und GPL gelesen hast, und Serienbriefe für Amnesty schreibst, bedeutet noch lange nicht, daß Du die Community mit gestelztem Gelaber langweilst.

Auch das Holocaust-Trauma und IBM tragen keinen Sinn bei.

Manipulation findet selbstverständlich ständig statt, und die IT liefert die Infrastruktur dazu.

Aber Deine Zusammenhänge lassen mich vermuten, daß DU derjenige mit Machtphantasien bist.

Drei Erfahrungen und eine dumme Folgerung.

Jochen

Bin mal gespannt, ob Du die Kritik nicht schon selber wegfilterst (vielleicht diesmal mit Visual Basic, viel Spaß) und Du Dir so selber widersprichst.

12 May 2001 17:59 iamdamaged

Re: Voll verpeilt

> Hi Björn,
>
> daß Du ein bißchen mit
> einem Proxy gespielt und GPL gelesen
> hast, und Serienbriefe für Amnesty
> schreibst, bedeutet noch lange nicht,
> daß Du die Community mit
> gestelztem Gelaber langweilst.
>
> Auch das Holocaust-Trauma und IBM
> tragen keinen Sinn bei.
>
> Manipulation findet
> selbstverständlich ständig
> statt, und die IT liefert die
> Infrastruktur dazu.
>
> Aber Deine Zusammenhänge lassen
> mich vermuten, daß DU derjenige
> mit Machtphantasien bist.
>
> Drei Erfahrungen und eine dumme
> Folgerung.
>
> Jochen
>
> Bin mal gespannt, ob Du die Kritik
> nicht schon selber wegfilterst
> (vielleicht diesmal mit Visual Basic,
> viel Spaß) und Du Dir so selber
> widersprichst.

HA! that's easy for YOU to say..:P

12 May 2001 18:17 iamdamaged

Ahh...something just came to me
"and as a member of Amnesty International, trying to promote human rights."
Thats from this guys BIO, no wonder...this from the SAME people who are pro-life and who are in favor of releasing murderers and rapists, and outlawing executions....bunch of bible-thumping do-gooders, give it up Bjorn, noone wants to see you wave your "I am holier then thou" banner.

12 May 2001 18:27 plumeyer

In English: Totally misorientated
Hi Björn,

great, that you played with a proxy, read GPL and wrote serial letters for amnesty. But thats no reason to bore the comunity with elaborated BLAH.

Even the trauma of the holocaust and to mention IBM's role in it does not add some meaning in your thesis.

Clearly, manipulation is everytime around us, and IT is the infrastructure to do it.

But your argumentation makes me feel, that YOU are the one with power fantasies.

Three experiences and one dump thought.

Jochen

P.S.: Perhaps you are filtering the critics for your article (Now with Visual Basic, so have fun without regular expressions!)? Would be a good contradiction.

P.P.S.: I hope freshmeat will filter better in the future.

12 May 2001 18:31 iamdamaged

Re: IBM and the holocaust?

>
>

> There were hard disks in 1910.
>

Are YOU completely dumb? Hardrives first came out in 1957 heres a link: www.karbosguide.com/mo... go learn something.

12 May 2001 18:36 iamdamaged

Re: In English: Totally misorientated

> Hi Björn,
>
> great, that you played with a proxy,
> read GPL and wrote serial letters for
> amnesty. But thats no reason to bore the
> comunity with elaborated BLAH.
>
> Even the trauma of the holocaust and
> to mention IBM's role in it does not add
> some meaning in your thesis.
>
> Clearly, manipulation is everytime
> around us, and IT is the infrastructure
> to do it.
>
> But your argumentation makes me feel,
> that YOU are the one with power
> fantasies.
>
> Three experiences and one dump
> thought.
>
> Jochen
>
> P.S.: Perhaps you are filtering the
> critics for your article (Now with
> Visual Basic, so have fun without
> regular expressions!)? Would be a good
> contradiction.
>
> P.P.S.: I hope freshmeat will filter
> better in the future.
>

Ahh..now that made sense...thank you much for the translated post :)

12 May 2001 19:27 dorward

Re: Get over it....

> Comercial software can be downloaded of any
warez site and used without the user
> needing to sign any contract. What's the
different between that and OSS? So... do
> we just ban all software?

You mean aside from OSS being legal?

12 May 2001 20:38 Roger8Over

Re: IBM and the holocaust?
Let me correct the story. The book upon which the frivolous lawsuit was based claimed the machines were at Auschwitz. It is a total fabrication without the least evidence to support it. The curator of the Auschwitz Museum has rejected it as a total fabrication.

The lawsuit was filed by an ambulance chaser who has been getting rich off of class action cases where the members each get hundreds while he charges hundreds of thousands. That lawsuit was filed specifically for discovery to look for evidence in IBM records that it had happened.
After the curator rejected the story as a fabrication the lawsuit claim was changed to say they were in Berlin, a total fabrication by the ambulance chaser.
He has since withdrawn the suit without comment.
I'd say he is lucky IBM doesn't want bad publicity else they would have turned their attorneys loose on him.

12 May 2001 20:53 Avatar tallship

Re: IBM and the holocaust?
Thank You for pointing out so eloquently the bias of big business to succumb to the bottom line - period. unfortunately, you seem to have caused the awakening of several ultrasensative and naive people who would rather pretend that large corporations such as Bayer, Benz, Volkswagen, IBM, and even the Swiss banks would never encroach upon the misery of the insignificat and downtrodden just to make a few bucks.

It humors me when I see that look on people's faces - you know, that look of, "OH my JeFreakeness Gosh how can this be?" - when they are presented with such evidences like the fact that the Mengele Tool company (Dr. Joseph Mengele)is still alive and healthy. That's not the funny part at all really. The funny part (not funny ha ha either) is that these modern day ostriches actually become angry with people such as myself, or you, for enlightening them to these facts. After all, it's not like I had anything to do with IBM's profiting from the Nazis.

These same people seem to want to take off course, on another tangent, your assertion that these big businesses (ie: Governments) may have good reason to utilize the open source movement to further deny basic human rights, or stymie the flow of information to the members of oppressed societies.

Even as we speak, members of free nations already are victimized by the silent censorship of available information (or worse). It comes in various forms, some of it being in the form of non-acknowledgement by criminal organizations such as ICANN (www.PacificRoot.com and www.youcann.here and www.tldlobby.org), others find - or rather, don't find - that their information is being filtered by such mechanisms as that which your proxy server may have been easily adapted. And this is in free countries, not the nations where people already know they are oppressed.

Grrrreat article Bjorn, and very observant of you.

Regards,

Bradley D. Thornton

>
> %
> % %It was not IBM that
> % %provided databases but a german
> % %subcompany of IBM called
> % "Deutsche
> % % Hollerith"
> %
> %
> % in fact, ibm is based on this
> company
> % mentioned - they
> % simply bought it
> %
> %
>
>
> ...and Elvis lives!
> It is more likely that this sort of
> remarks will do more harm then an open
> source idea.If you exagerate a little
> further IBM was co-responsable for the
> millions of deaths at Hiroshima and
> Nagasaki ... because the calculations of
> the boms were made possible ...
>
> Databases!IN 1940-45?Maybe a server
> too?Back in the bunkers of Hitler?
>
> Isn't it horror enough that such
> things have existed?Why do you have to
> drag in a story like the holocaust into
> the GPL or Open Source idea?What does it
> proof?
> Every technology can be missused.The
> IT-technology makes no exception, be it
> commercial or not.
>
>
>
>

12 May 2001 20:55 Roger8Over

Re: License as Contract

> "Enforceability is another question.
> Open Source licenses (GPL or any other)
> constitute legally binding contracts but
> have hardly been tested in the U.S.
> courts, much less outside the United
> States."
>
> Licenses are legally binding
> contracts? Says who, the people who
> wrote the license? Treating licenses as
> contracts is exactly what opponents of
> UCITA would like to prevent.

For years they fought putting the "license" on the outside so it would be a surprise when opening it. Finally they gave in and put something on the outside which would not stand up in court. No one is bound by anything not fully and completely disclosed at the time of purchase.
Which means the longer and rather more legally binding version which appears at install time was not agreed to at purchase and "click if you agree" is meaningless. Clicking agree is a way to get around a glitch in the installation process.
Additionally the software is not purchased from the manufacturer. It is purchased from the retail outlet. All agreements are between me and the retailer. The retailer is not an agent of the manufacturer.
Every retailer I have known as a sign over the rack saying SOFTWARE not LICENSES. All those retailers are selling software not licenses.

12 May 2001 20:59 xakep

Community comments..
The author may be wrong or right, but all the comments state something like "We're just techies, we don't give a damn about freedom and human rights as long as we're given software for free and our computers are working". Indifference of technical junkies makes all the horror possible, like indifference of the whole nation made holocaust possible. One day when there will be no freedom and as a consequence no free software no one will care that YOU have no freedom like you don't care about misuse of software.

And no one will give a damn.

12 May 2001 21:02 renegade75

Restricting Open Source Software
Is this guy nuts?!?!

12 May 2001 21:02 Roger8Over

Re: License as Contract

> If you don't accept the license, then
> the author grants you absolutely NO
> RIGHTS to use the software in any way at
> all. This has nothing to do with the
> UCITA. The UCITA makes a contract
> binding when the user does certain
> things (like break a seal or install the
> software), whereas the GPL simply grants
> you rights to use the software IF YOU
> ACCEPT IT. It's a legally binding
> contract just like any other.

The next time I buy software from the author and we negotiate a contract I will keep that in mind. I have only twice bought software from an auther or an author's agent. Agent has a legal meaning in that an agent can speak for the author.
Meaning purchases from retailers are excluded.

12 May 2001 21:08 Avatar tallship

Re: What kind of rock is this guy smocking?
What kind of smack are you ricking?

smoking. You smoke crack, not smock it.

I suppose you could smick some creak or rake some grass or crack some bootie though. but crack must be smoked (or you could add back in the 12.5% HCl and then snort it in the usual form of Cocaine Hydrochloride - not smurf it though), not smocked. a smock is something the druggest (pharmacist) wears, not something the druggie does :)

> I guess that any John Doe can write and
> get published these days. Does this
> means I dissagree with the german kid
> (at least, he has a german email)? You
> betcha!

12 May 2001 21:13 Roger8Over

Political repression via software required by US law
It is already required by law in the US
I hope it is not a secret here that most of those packages to "protect" children from pornagraphy also block material based upon the political and personal views of the manufacturers. Things a child can buy at any bookstore or read in any library are blocked and redirected.
So as it is already required by law for very unfreeware what is the sudden interest in it being done by freeware?

12 May 2001 21:19 Avatar tallship

Re: Restricting Open Source Software

> Is this guy nuts?!?!

nah, we're all just smacking crock ;)

12 May 2001 21:20 Avatar tallship

Re: Restricting Open Source Software

>
> % Is this guy nuts?!?!
>
>
> nah, we're all just smacking crock ;)

er... cracking smoke.

13 May 2001 00:09 niggerbottom

Re: What kind of rock is this guy smocking?

> What kind of smack are you ricking?
>
> smoking. You smoke crack, not smock
> it.
>
> I suppose you could smick some creak
> or rake some grass or crack some bootie
> though. but crack must be smoked (or you
> could add back in the 12.5% HCl and then
> snort it in the usual form of Cocaine
> Hydrochloride - not smurf it though),
> not smocked. a smock is something the
> druggest (pharmacist) wears, not
> something the druggie does :)
%

well if you're going to be that anal about it --
crack is vaporized not smoked. no direct contact
with flame is made, its just boiled inside the
crack pipe and the vapors are inhaled.. but
cocaine's hell on your brain so don't touch it
kids! :-)

13 May 2001 02:25 openface

Unfair practices would not be tolerated long.
I'm forking from where the article mentioned the example of altering content thats passes through software with a personal (unfair) slant.

I think this is what makes the Open Source philosophy seem so perfect. Anyone is free to abuse this system, but as long as the source code is included, everything is out in the open for the community to change. If something like you described did happen, I think it would be treated the same as if Microsoft did it. The project would be reamed with a bad repuation. The difference would be that it wouldn't take very long for the word to get out.

13 May 2001 02:57 openface

Re: Ahh...something just came to me

> "and as a member of Amnesty
> International, trying to promote human
> rights."
> Thats from this guys BIO, no
> wonder...this from the SAME people who
> are pro-life and who are in favor of
> releasing murderers and rapists, and
> outlawing executions....bunch of
> bible-thumping do-gooders, give it up
> Bjorn, noone wants to see you wave your
> "I am holier then thou"
> banner.

dear dear god. wtf is happening?

13 May 2001 03:01 openface

Re: Community comments..

> The author may be wrong or right, but
> all the comments state something like
> "We're just techies, we don't give
> a damn about freedom and human rights as
> long as we're given software for free
> and our computers are working".
> Indifference of technical junkies makes
> all the horror possible, like
> indifference of the whole nation made
> holocaust possible. One day when there
> will be no freedom and as a consequence
> no free software no one will care that
> YOU have no freedom like you don't care
> about misuse of software.
>
> And no one will give a damn.

Please don't overreact on the WRONG notions. You are making wild accusations based on technical responses on a technical related website about a very non-technical issue. Conclusions like these can't be made one way or the other.

13 May 2001 04:12 compay

all good technology has some immoral uses
You can't name a technology that has only good
uses. Technology enables humans to act out their
wishes in a more expedient way - and humans can
have all sorts of wishes. The minute you release
software under a license that restricts it to certain
moral uses, you incur the responsibility to explain
what is moral and what is not. Several thousand years
of philosophy and religion have not managed to
answer that question, so you're better off not diving
into the morass if all you want to do is release a
device driver.

13 May 2001 05:03 theenglishman

Re: Bad Logic

> Yet another horrible example of
> geek-think...
>
> Political repression through
> web-filtering? Since when was political
> change realized over the Internet? The
> Internet, by its very nature, is
> ultimately controllable by the
> government. So what? To effect political
> change, we have to actually get out of
> our basements, walk up (physically!) to
> the place where political decisions are
> made, and complain.
>
> If the Internet can be subverted by
> the government, so what? Let's walk down
> to the Capitol with some grievances and
> solve the problem; democracy is about
> mobilization -- for those of you who
> haven't left your bedroom in the past 12
> months, mobilization means "moving
> around." You're stuck in an
> alternate, and very inaccurate, reality
> if you believe that control over
> something as non-physical as the
> Internet could somehow strip away our
> powers over the people who govern us.
>
> BinaryBoy
>

You have to be American. Think outside of your own borders.
There have been published articles discussing China's attempts to control what the general public can access on the internet.

The internet may well be a fantastic tool to bring together like minded individuals towards a common goal, be it building an OS or subverting the government.

Governments are not always there to look out for the common person's human rights - China (and I dare say other not-exactly-democratic governments too) have realised what a problem the internet/information age is to their decades (or longer) old grip on the populous, and are attempting to control it - by the very things the author of the article mentioned - web filtering, email scanning and so on.

Yes, there are probably ways around this (encryption being the first one that springs to mind) - however it doesn't take much for a government to pass laws to ban encryption, or at least demand the keys to encrypted documents or send the "subversive" person(s) to jail.

In this case, it's not just China - Britain's RIP bill has passed a law which does exactly that - if you do not give up keys to encrypted documents in the course of a criminal investigation, you can face several years in jail.

Of course, the British justice system has to answer to the public, press and other human rights bodies if things start to go wrong.

Other governments might not pay so much attention, or even make the case public.

13 May 2001 06:26 robUx4

Re: I am sure that the author means well...
Well, the author ends with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as a basis. This is not subjective. And it's Universal (for those country who signed it).

I think it should be easy to add a clause in software licenses (and any other "product") to add this restriction.

Now, I would like some lawyers or people like this to write this clause in a "decent" way.

13 May 2001 06:30 robUx4

Re: Use of Open Source Software Should Be Restricted ...

> ... Never!
>
> I am sorry, but i think you haven't
> understand the
> word freedom an how freedom must be
> protected.
>

Does freedom mean that you are free to kill people ? It could be, but of course everyone is against that.

Laws are made to protect the freedom of people !

It could be the same in a product use restriction clause.

13 May 2001 06:38 robUx4

Re: please!
Maybe the GPL but what about BSD ?

I think GPL put too much restriction on the license and code use (so, it IS a contract for the programmer using it). And since there are some using restrictions, why not adding another one ???

13 May 2001 06:40 robUx4

Re: all good technology has some immoral uses
I completely agree with you on the subjective aspect. But the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is not !

That could be a good basis for a software/code restriction use. And you could even sue some people using your code if they break the Human Rights !!! Isn't that great ???

13 May 2001 15:38 xakep

Re: Community comments..

> Please don't overreact on the WRONG
> notions. You are making wild
> accusations based on technical responses
> on a technical related website about a
> very non-technical issue. Conclusions
> like these can't be made one way or the
> other.

Actually, my opinion is based on my long standing experience with technical people. Definitely, NOT all of us are like that. And don't take this personally (I haven't checked what were your comments if any). And, basically, my point was that no matter if we're doing technical stuff or building a house we should remain humans. Or at least do our best to remain humans.

13 May 2001 15:45 swiftfox

Re: all good technology has some immoral uses

> I completely agree with you on the
> subjective aspect. But the Universal
> Declaration of Human Rights is not !
>
> That could be a good basis for a
> software/code restriction use. And you
> could even sue some people using your
> code if they break the Human Rights !!!
> Isn't that great ???

The UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights is immensely subjective. It speaks of lofty principles but refuses to define its terms, making it a great goal to work toward but a lousy set of criteria to try to enforce.

Example: "Article 1: All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood". Well, duh! It ends up meaning
such things as "All human beings have an equal right to bribe the court officials and be released if they have enough money", or have an equal right to worship Allah or those 5 official churches the People's Republic of China have approved, and an equal right to go to jail if they don't.

13 May 2001 16:27 pi

Bring out the dancing bears of *duh*!
Gotta love idealism. But do you realize what you are proposing? A government with a total disregard for human life, which tortures its citizens on the basis of their hair color and endorses slavery, how morally bound do you think they will feel to the "GPL Human Rights Edition"? Or do you think it's more likely that they will go ahead and use your software to build guided missiles to shoot at their population anyway?

I bet the convicted murderer would've thought twice if he could be sued by Smith & Wesson for violating the murder weapon's license conditions.

Also, you're missing another loophole: Some people use GPL software to break the GPL! Let's put an extra clause in the GPL that forbids people who break the GPL from using the GPL product.

HTH
Pi

14 May 2001 00:09 glenalec

Human Rights? Which Rights?
The trouble with human rights is that they are themselves
politically motivated. Is there a human right to productive
employment? (I can't check - I'm living in China) I very much
doubt it bacause Human rights were drafted in capitalist
countries and a basic tennet of capitalism is to have a large pool
of unemployed to keep labor costs down.

Even Adam Smith (name?) - the father of modrn capitalist
theory - recognised that although in the interests of capitalism,
unemployment was not in the interests of society.

BTW. I live in China but am not a Comminust (neither is the
government here except in name - mercentile dictatorship
seems more accurate). The DS on HDSR stands for Democtatic
Socialist. I originate from the Australian continent (HDSR
doesn't oficially recognise national borders) but fled the region
to find work. (I noermally don't discuss politics - boring - but
my political views obviously alter my opinions on this subject so
should be noted for perspective reasons)

14 May 2001 02:29 robUx4

Re: Human Rights? Which Rights?
I don't think you can tell the Human Rights Declaration are capitalism oriented ! It's just liberty/freedom oriented. A simple thing that say that you have to respect other people and can have your own freedom.

It was not created by capitalists because at that time the word didn't even exist.

14 May 2001 03:17 andrewcooke

Re: Human Rights? Which Rights?

> The trouble with human rights is that
> they are themselves
> politically motivated. Is there a

In the context of this discussion (software licencing) this isn't a problem. If someone felt, for example, that their code should be used only in certain countries (those that encourage full employment, for example), then they could specify that. There's no need for a global consensus on conditions, ethics, etc.

Maybe people are so upset (I'm surprised at the strength of negative dimissals here) because they are thinking of a modified GPL with a single ethical viewpoint. Clearly that's out of the question.

At the moment this is a new idea; as people come to understand it perhaps it will become more common for people to use ethical conditions. In time a consensus might grow - maybe several different licences would evolve, and people would select the one they felt most strongly for ("this software is licenced under the Green ethical licence" or "the Libertarian ethical licence"). A small number of accepted licences would be a good final outcome, as they would be easier to understand and more liekly to be enforced (you could imagine the Green party in a country becoming involved in ensuring compliance with the Green licence, for example)...

14 May 2001 05:02 ctscki

Punch Cards during War... Nope
inventors.about.com/sc...

please note

" Zuse used old movie film to store his programs and data for the Z3, instead of using paper tape or punched cards. Paper was in short supply in Germany during the war. "

14 May 2001 05:49 alba

Political Correctness is just another Fascism
At the heart of all this stuff is somebody that decides what is correct and what not. Some benevolent dictator, that is.

The real funny part is that even amongst related countries of Western civilization there is little consensus on correctness.

Is an abortion clinic allowed to drive their web site with Apache? What about a women's rights group that just provides choice, not pre-selection?
What about Scientology? The Witnesses of Yehova? The Catholic Church (the inquisition probably cost more lives than all sects taken together)?
The Catholic Church of Northern Ireland?

What about rogue states? States implementing death penalty? Or a government that jeopardizes global climate just for a few percent of economic growth?

14 May 2001 08:33 fremar

Breaking the law vs breaking a license agreement
In most countries, someone who would implement such a "content filter" or "content changer" is already breaking laws about freedom of speech or privacy.
I don't think anyone willing to violate the law will be stopped by a license agreement.
So that leaves us with countries where freedom of speech and privacy have little meaning. But I don't think any dictator will hesitate to violate software license agreements if he is already violating human rights.

14 May 2001 08:35 robUx4

Re: Political Correctness is just another Fascism
When you choose to release your code with an open-source license it's for many reasons. You can choose among many of them.
So why shouldn't there be licenses (new or updated) that add a "fair use" close depending on what you need/want to do. It's up to the coder !

It's not dictatorship because you're free not to use these licenses !!!

The problem is that licenses usually have to be the same like the problem between using the old BSD license where you had a clause with usually the name of the author. So adding this kind of clause to existing licenses would require to update these licenses on lots of softwares (code actually). I think there should be a "fair use" version of all the popular ones. Now the problem is what to consider fair or not !!! As I said in another message, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is probably a good starting point.

14 May 2001 09:43 iamdamaged

Re: Political Correctness is just another Fascism

> When you choose to release your code
> with an open-source license it's for
> many reasons. You can choose among many
> of them.
> So why shouldn't there be licenses
> (new or updated) that add a "fair use"
> close depending on what you need/want to
> do. It's up to the coder !
>
> It's not dictatorship because you're
> free not to use these licenses !!!
>
> The problem is that licenses usually
> have to be the same like the problem
> between using the old BSD license where
> you had a clause with usually the name
> of the author. So adding this kind of
> clause to existing licenses would
> require to update these licenses on lots
> of softwares (code actually). I think
> there should be a "fair use" version of
> all the popular ones. Now the problem is
> what to consider fair or not !!! As I
> said in another message, the Universal
> Declaration of Human Rights is probably
> a good starting point.

Oh brother, I am amazed at littel Hitlers running around on here...

14 May 2001 09:46 iamdamaged

Re: Human Rights? Which Rights?

>
> % The trouble with human rights is
> that
> % they are themselves
> % politically motivated. Is there a
>
>
> In the context of this discussion
> (software licencing) this isn't a
> problem. If someone felt, for example,
> that their code should be used only in
> certain countries (those that encourage
> full employment, for example), then they
> could specify that. There's no need for
> a global consensus on conditions,
> ethics, etc.
>
> Maybe people are so upset (I'm
> surprised at the strength of negative
> dimissals here) because they are
> thinking of a modified GPL with a single
> ethical viewpoint. Clearly that's out
> of the question.
>
> At the moment this is a new idea; as
> people come to understand it perhaps it
> will become more common for people to
> use ethical conditions. In time a
> consensus might grow - maybe several
> different licences would evolve, and
> people would select the one they felt
> most strongly for ("this software
> is licenced under the Green ethical
> licence" or "the Libertarian
> ethical licence"). A small number
> of accepted licences would be a good
> final outcome, as they would be easier
> to understand and more liekly to be
> enforced (you could imagine the Green
> party in a country becoming involved in
> ensuring compliance with the Green
> licence, for example)...
>

You all still miss the simplest point, who decides what's humane or not..you?...me?...a coder?...you are just grasping for straws in an attempt to save our souls, so to speak, we don't need you telling us how you want us to behave, if you release software and I want to use it to kill 10000 people, what are you going to do if I violate your license?...sue me?....this is just retarded thinking and dogoodism, you sound like a bunch of tree hugging hippies...

14 May 2001 09:51 iamdamaged

bah keep China out of it..

>
> % Yet another horrible example of
> % geek-think...
> %
> % Political repression through
> % web-filtering? Since when was
> political
> % change realized over the Internet?
> The
> % Internet, by its very nature, is
> % ultimately controllable by the
> % government. So what? To effect
> political
> % change, we have to actually get out
> of
> % our basements, walk up (physically!)
> to
> % the place where political decisions
> are
> % made, and complain.
> %
> % If the Internet can be subverted
> by
> % the government, so what? Let's walk
> down
> % to the Capitol with some grievances
> and
> % solve the problem; democracy is
> about
> % mobilization -- for those of you
> who
> % haven't left your bedroom in the
> past 12
> % months, mobilization means
> "moving
> % around." You're stuck in an
> % alternate, and very inaccurate,
> reality
> % if you believe that control over
> % something as non-physical as the
> % Internet could somehow strip away
> our
> % powers over the people who govern
> us.
> %
> % BinaryBoy
> %
>
>
> You have to be American. Think outside
> of your own borders.
> There have been published articles
> discussing China's attempts to control
> what the general public can access on
> the internet.
>
> The internet may well be a fantastic
> tool to bring together like minded
> individuals towards a common goal, be it
> building an OS or subverting the
> government.
>
> Governments are not always there to
> look out for the common person's human
> rights - China (and I dare say other
> not-exactly-democratic governments too)
> have realised what a problem the
> internet/information age is to their
> decades (or longer) old grip on the
> populous, and are attempting to control
> it - by the very things the author of
> the article mentioned - web filtering,
> email scanning and so on.
>
> Yes, there are probably ways around
> this (encryption being the first one
> that springs to mind) - however it
> doesn't take much for a government to
> pass laws to ban encryption, or at least
> demand the keys to encrypted documents
> or send the "subversive"
> person(s) to jail.
>
> In this case, it's not just China -
> Britain's RIP bill has passed a law
> which does exactly that - if you do not
> give up keys to encrypted documents in
> the course of a criminal investigation,
> you can face several years in jail.
>
> Of course, the British justice system
> has to answer to the public, press and
> other human rights bodies if things
> start to go wrong.
>
> Other governments might not pay so
> much attention, or even make the case
> public.

...after all you know what happened with the prisoners...you release Chinese prisoners, and an hour later you want to release more...:P

14 May 2001 12:55 robUx4

Re: Political Correctness is just another Fascism
I'm afraid you'll have to explain a bit more... Otherwise your comment is useless (agressive ? stupid ?).

14 May 2001 17:55 bstpierre

Re: License as Contract

>
> "Enforceability is another question.
> Open Source licenses (GPL or any other)
> constitute legally binding contracts

Not really. There are five components to a contract: offer, acceptance, consideration, capacity, and legality. Assume offer, acceptance, capacity (i.e. you are not legally insane, you are not a minor, and you have authority to accept the terms of the contract), and legality are properly present. There is no consideration: "consideration" means that the parties to the contract must each incur a legal benefit and a legal detriment. In this case, the author of the software has no legal benefit. Thus there is no consideration and no contract. QED.

14 May 2001 22:37 chronos

Re: License as Contract
Give the GPL a second look. The GPL imposes no restrictions on use; it only imposes restrictions on copying, which is quite different. As far as I'm aware you cannot limit use without a contract, you can only limit actions already forbidden by law (such as copying).

15 May 2001 03:38 alba

Re: Political Correctness is just another Fascism

> [...]
> It's not dictatorship because you're
> free not to use these licenses !!!

The problem is that you, the coder that chooses the license, forces his personal ethics onto everyone else.
And I say it again: There is absolutely no non-trivial agreement on such ethics.
Continental China may have clause on their Linux distribution that forbids Tibet activists to use it. Evil?
Well, for a long time Turkey, a NATO member, forbade every use of the Curdish language.
Saudi Arabia is perhaps the most oppressive Islamic regime on this world, yet they are an American Alley and beyond criticism.

In Austria we have common agreement that nuclear power is deficit politics. Thousand generations will have to pay for radioactive waste that give us about 30 years of electricity. But we are just seven million people. Should we really declare ideological war on the rest of the world?

Your suggestion means to couple computer science with other issues. Implemented in perfection this means "by using this source you agree to all my believes and swear to never do evil again".

I think the ability to communicate with people of other cultures is in itself a value. I may despise Echolon and think low of everyone participating, but still I would enjoy a chat on technical issues regarding gcc. Having something in common is the first step in understanding each other.

15 May 2001 08:57 Tercano

Re: IBM and the holocaust?

> Thank You for pointing out so eloquently
> the bias of big business to succumb to
> the bottom line - period. unfortunately,

My pleasure ...

> you seem to have caused the awakening of
> several ultrasensative and naive people
> who would rather pretend that large
> corporations such as Bayer, Benz,
> Volkswagen, IBM, and even the Swiss
> banks would never encroach upon the

You forgot Krupp, Siemens, ... for goodness sake which industry will NOT have
gained with the war?

> misery of the insignificat and
> downtrodden just to make a few bucks.

A few millions of bucks that is ... getting rich on the misery of others, that's the
biggest game throughout history.

>
> It humors me when I see that look on
> people's faces - you know, that look of,
> "OH my JeFreakeness Gosh how can this
> be?" - when they are presented with such
> evidences like the fact that the Mengele
> Tool company (Dr. Joseph Mengele)is
> still alive and healthy. That's not the
> funny part at all really. The funny part
> (not funny ha ha either) is that these
> modern day ostriches actually become
> angry with people such as myself, or
> you, for enlightening them to these
> facts. After all, it's not like I had
> anything to do with IBM's profiting from
> the Nazis.

Blaming ...?
Are children to be blamed for what their parents did or think?
Are ALL the parents to be blamed?
Who is to blame and by whom?

What good will come out the 'if's and when not's.Times were as they were.
History will claim even this war as being past and forgotten.

But if anybody tries to use a pretext of what was happened back then to claim 'there should be a restriction on ...' they are way out of line.

>
> These same people seem to want to take
> off course, on another tangent, your
> assertion that these big businesses (ie:
> Governments) may have good reason to
> utilize the open source movement to
> further deny basic human rights, or
> stymie the flow of information to the
> members of oppressed societies.

Alfred Nobel invented a safer way to deal with nitroglycerine.
If I translate the starting point of the article, there should have been a restriction on chemistry ...
... because now the military got hold of dynamite as well?Is that it?

>
> Even as we speak, members of free
> nations already are victimized by the
> silent censorship of available
> information (or worse). It comes in
> various forms, some of it being in the
> form of non-acknowledgement by criminal
> organizations such as ICANN
> (www.PacificRoot.com and
> www.youcann.here and
> www.tldlobby.org), others find -
> or rather, don't find - that their
> information is being filtered by such
> mechanisms as that which your proxy
> server may have been easily adapted. And
> this is in free countries, not the
> nations where people already know they
> are oppressed.

Open source is more then technology.It is more then a mean, it is a idea.
How do you put a restriction on idea's?

>
> Grrrreat article Bjorn, and very
> observant of you.
>
> Regards,
>
> Bradley D. Thornton
>
>
>
> %
> % %
> % % %It was not IBM that
> % % %provided databases but a german
> % % %subcompany of IBM called
> % % "Deutsche
> % % % Hollerith"
> % %

...snip

%Why do you have
> to
> % drag in a story like the holocaust
> into
> % the GPL or Open Source idea?What
> does it
> % proof?
> % Every technology can be
> missused.The
> % IT-technology makes no exception, be
> it
> % commercial or not.

15 May 2001 11:52 andrewcooke

Re: Breaking the law vs breaking a license agreement
I don't think anyone is claiming that "Mr Nasty Dictator" is not going to run some code because of licence restrictions. But in many cases, pressure might be possible - I already suggested that a Green Party in a country might be interested in enforcing compliance if some oil company (say) was using software with a "green licence".

As for the "dictatorship" accusation - how is this any different to me refusing to work for or buy goods from companies I don't like? Or refusing to help out people that annoy me? It's *my* code - why shouldn't I have some say in who uses it? If you don't like my ethics you're always free to not use the software I release under an ethical licence. I'm not saying people should be forced to use software with a licence they don't accept!

I don't see how me using a licence I like is any different to RMS using a licence that he likes - the GPL. Is he a little dictator too? (ok, I know the answer to that ;-)

And finally, I don't see any problem in choosing what ethics to put in the licence. Each person who writes their own code can choose their own. Of course, this will be a horrible mess at first, but with time people might group together under a number under more popular, general licences. Alternatively, people could get together now, and discuss what they'd like...

15 May 2001 15:01 jeffski

Could not freedom be restored by ssl
If every computer sent out a public key to recieve the message then
the message would be sent encrypted this could be set up in the web browser.

There's other ways of encryption and varification that users don't even have to be aware
of.

You can't filter all encrypted information without people starting to notice it.

I think this article has alot to do with computer privacy act.

16 May 2001 03:52 AbInitio

Re: Cultural differences

> to expect people to
> bow down to YOUR beleifs in exchange to
> use your software is not only illogical
> but sounds alot like dictatorship,

To impose your concepts of use on someone else's software creation is far more dictator-like than for him to impose his concepts of use on software he created. Whether you care to acknowledge it or not, the act of creating something useful confers certain rights, both moral and legal.

Unless based upon prior GPL code and also presented for use by the general public, he doesn't have to make his work available at all. And that really shoots down your "excessive restrictions" argument. Most of us run our computers on the free sweat of others. We are in no position to dictate to them how their creation is to be used. If we try, they will simply refuse to create. Game over. Lights out. Entropy.

Ayn Rand covered this argument fairly thoroughly in "Atlas Shrugged". I would suggest you read it slowly and carefully.

The ethical thing to do is to obey whatever license applies to whatever piece of software you choose to use; or not to use that software at all. It's a simple concept, easy to implement with few or no "gray areas". If you don't like the EULA or the GPL or the BSD or the whatever license / set of restrictions, simply don't use the software: even if there is no known alternative program. THAT is the market force that compels changes in licensing.

16 May 2001 05:28 alba

Re: Breaking the law vs breaking a license agreement

> If you don't like my ethics
> you're always free to not use the
> software I release under an ethical
> licence. I'm not saying people should
> be forced to use software with a licence
> they don't accept!

The bad guys won't care what your license says and will use your stuff anyway.
If they are smart they will probably improve your source.
Following the spirit of open source (its supposed to make better software) they will publish their patches.

So the real issue with your license is this:
Will you accept work from people you don't like?

Refusing knowledge is ignorance.

16 May 2001 12:50 gurensan

Re: IBM and the holocaust?
I invoke Godwin's Law here. If you don't know what that is, see www.tuxedo.org/~esr/ and follow the links to the jargon file.

16 May 2001 16:32 andrewcooke

Re: Breaking the law vs breaking a license agreement
Please re-read the first paragraph of the post you replied to.

Thanks,
Andrew

16 May 2001 16:34 andrewcooke

Re: Political Correctness is just another Fascism

> The problem is that you, the coder that chooses the license, forces his
> personal ethics onto everyone else.

I thought that was a feature, not a bug. If you don't like the ethics, don't use the code. Why should I write free software for people that are screwing up my environment?

16 May 2001 16:41 andrewcooke

Code ownership...
I'm starting to see that code ownership is kind-of the issue here. I (or people arguing for this idea) seem to be called Hitler (I suggest people get a little sense of perspective) because I want to control code that I write.

There seems to be an assumption that code I (for example) write belongs to everyone. That by restricting how that code is used I am *forcing* others to behave as I want.

But just because I release code for free doesn't mean it isn't my work. Why shouldn't I have control over what I produce? If people don't like the licence, they don't need to use the code. The only *forcing* I am doing is refusing to support people whose behaviour I find wrong/offensive/dangerous...

16 May 2001 16:59 robUx4

Re: Political Correctness is just another Fascism

>
> absolutely no non-trivial agreement on
> such ethics.

But the Universal Declaration of Human Rights IS not about ethics. And it's "universal" (or should be applied as such).

> Continental China may have clause on
> their Linux distribution that forbids
> Tibet activists to use it. Evil?
> Well, for a long time Turkey, a NATO
> member, forbade every use of the Curdish
> language.
> Saudi Arabia is perhaps the most
> oppressive Islamic regime on this world,
> yet they are an American Alley and
> beyond criticism.

You're precisely talking about countries that heavily violates the UDHR. Why would you prevent yourself from avoiding these people (not all of them) to use a software you've created ?
Imagine if Einstein could have forbid the use of nuclear power for weapons...

If it's made possible, we HAVE to make it. (even if we don't need to use it).

I really hope some lawyers at the FSF will think about it (or BSD since I prefer the BSD license as it's even more open).

17 May 2001 02:53 alba

Re: Breaking the law vs breaking a license agreement

> Please re-read the first paragraph of
> the post you replied to.

So?

I started from there and came to a possible scenario. My question was and still is:
Will you accept patches from people that don't qualify for your licence?
Will you ignore knowledge, just because it was developed by employees of Shell?

17 May 2001 03:00 alba

Re: Code ownership...

> [...]
> Why shouldn't I have control over what I
> produce? If people don't like the
> licence, they don't need to use the
> code. The only *forcing* I am doing is
> refusing to support people whose
> behaviour I find
> wrong/offensive/dangerous...

I consider code to be speech. Source code is used to express ideas. To talk with each other. To communicate with peoples you have little else in common.

IMHO your comprehension of source code fits well with the RIAA, Microsoft and US encryption export regulations.

I don't care what your intentions are. By using source code to restrict freedom you have chosen the dark side of the force.

17 May 2001 03:39 alba

Re: Political Correctness is just another Fascism

> Why should I write free software for people that are screwing up my environment?

I don't know how great a programmer you are.
For myself I know that I am standing on the shoulder of giants. My achievements are insignificant in comparison.
Stallman, Thorvalds and Wall gave me their work with no such strings attached. Without them I would know nothing.

Anyway, your understanding of open source is missing a crucial part: Cooperation with others. The Linux kernel was not written by a single human, but contains contributions from people all over the world.

I read your suggestion to mean "No, I won't accept your patch, you are evil". Given the big egos of famous Coders, this can only lead to a lethal separation of the scene.

17 May 2001 04:35 alba

Re: Political Correctness is just another Fascism

> [...]
> You're precisely talking about
countries that heavily violates the
UDHR. Why would you prevent yourself
from avoiding these people (not all of
them) to use a software you've created

It's not "these people". It's us. Our governments, our corporations, our society. The difference between good and evil countries is not Yes or No. It's more like the ratio of good deeds vs. bad.

If I had to decide where to live I would choose Israel over Saudi Arabia. But certainly the human rights record of the former is magnitudes worse.

> Imagine if Einstein could have forbid
the use of nuclear power for
weapons...

That would have saved us from Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Not from Tshernobyl. And Kyoto is about reducing the global threat of CO2, not radioactivity.

> I really hope some lawyers at the FSF
will think about it (or BSD since I
prefer the BSD license as it's even more
open).

LOL!
You don't know what you are talking about.
You must be a Troll.

For years the BSD folks have criticized RMS for beeing fascist, anal and covert commy.
And you expect them to restrict their license for political reasons?

17 May 2001 06:39 robUx4

Re: Political Correctness is just another Fascism

> That would have saved us from
> Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Not from
> Tshernobyl. And Kyoto is about reducing
> the global threat of CO2, not
> radioactivity.

Does that mean that it wouldn't be worth ?

> % I really hope some lawyers at the
> FSF
> will think about it (or BSD since I
> prefer the BSD license as it's even
> more
> open).
>
>
> LOL!
> You don't know what you are talking
> about.

About licenses, you're right. I've never really taken care of them until recently.
I like the BSD because it's more permissive, also. But I still think that a mix of both would make sense.

> You must be a Troll.
>
> For years the BSD folks have
> criticized RMS for beeing fascist, anal
> and covert commy.
> And you expect them to restrict their
> license for political reasons?

...even if the BSD folks don't agree.

what is a Troll ?

17 May 2001 06:42 robUx4

Re: Code ownership...

> I don't care what your intentions are.
> By using source code to restrict freedom
> you have chosen the dark side of the
> force.

Is freedom THE best thing to be acheived ?
Is it your freedom to kill people ?
Why do you think there are laws that restrict this kind of freedom ?

17 May 2001 06:52 robUx4

Re: Breaking the law vs breaking a license agreement

> Will you accept patches from people
> that don't qualify for your licence?

It depends if the modifications correct bugs or add features that are made to restrict people's rights.
Some linux kernel patches never made it into the kernel, so submiting a patch doesn't automatically imply that you'll add it.

> Will you ignore knowledge, just
> because it was developed by employees of
> Shell?

Very good question.
I think it really is a political question. If the people responsible for a project can refuse to be helped or not by people they don't like.

What if Microsoft submit a patch to the linux kernel ? Not only the technical part would be implied.

Anyway I don't think the problem is about the code (which is mostly about technical matters), but about the use of the code. In this case, the coder is not implied, but a license agreement could help.

17 May 2001 06:55 robUx4

Re: Bring out the dancing bears of *duh*!
So let's not have laws because they won't be 100% respected ???

17 May 2001 07:09 robUx4

Re: License as Contract

> Give the GPL a second look. The GPL
> imposes no restrictions on use; it only
> imposes restrictions on copying, which
> is quite different. As far as I'm aware
> you cannot limit use without a contract,
> you can only limit actions already
> forbidden by law (such as copying).

Does that apply to all countries in the world ?

17 May 2001 07:49 alba

Re: Political Correctness is just another Fascism
> I like the BSD because it's more

> permissive, also. But I still think that

> a mix of both would make sense.

Ok, you are a complete newbie.

Please, learn the basic facts first.

Why ``Free Software'' is better than ``Open Source'' (www.gnu.org/philosophy...)

NetBSD Licensing and Redistribution (www.netbsd.org/Goals/r...)

The Cathedral and the Bazaar (tuxedo.org/~esr/writin...)


> what is a Troll ?

jargonfile (www.jargon.net/jargonf...)

17 May 2001 08:10 alba

Re: Breaking the law vs breaking a license agreement
> > Will you accept patches from people that don't qualify for your licence?

>

> It depends if the modifications correct bugs or add features that are

> made to restrict people's rights.

This is a completely different issue.
Rejecting a feature you don't like, whether it's for technical or philosophical reasons, is natural.

I think that source code is speech. Rejecting somebody else arguments is natural, but refusing to talk with someone just for ideological reasons is recipy for disaster.

> What if Microsoft submit a patch to the linux kernel ?

So?

A patch is a patch. You can look at it, evaluate it, strip the sender's name from it.

> Not only the technical part would be implied.

Just why? What if Linus went mad and included a backdoor in the kernel?

It's not the (in)famous name that decides, but the contents.

> Anyway I don't think the problem is
about the code

> (which is mostly about technical matters), but about the use of

> the code. In this case, the coder is not
implied, but a

> license agreement could help.

Free software is about sharing advancements in computer science.

17 May 2001 08:13 alba

Re: Code ownership...
> Is freedom THE best thing to be
acheived ?

> Is it your freedom to kill people ?

> Why do you think there are laws that
restrict this kind of freedom ?

I am talking about freedom of speech and thought.

Do you really consider ideas to be weapons?

17 May 2001 09:33 robUx4

Re: Code ownership...

> I am talking about freedom of speech
> and thought.
> Do you really consider ideas to be
> weapons?

Yep, a lot ! But of course, that's only philosphy.
Free software is one of the best one.

17 May 2001 09:49 robUx4

Re: Breaking the law vs breaking a license agreement

> I think that source code is speech.
> Rejecting somebody else arguments is
> natural, but refusing to talk with
> someone just for ideological reasons is
> recipy for disaster.

So you're against any form of embargo and boycott ?
I'm against embargo for a whole country, but boycott is OK.
As someone mentioned above, this is not only a technical problem, but about human beings. You can't always hide behind the technic.

In France during WWII, we had some people that worked for the Vichy government and applied the laws of this government. But after the war they have been judged for that, because the laws they applied were against the Human Rights.

IMO that proves that you always have to be concerned about what you're doing and the possible consequences. When you code something and make it public, they is much more implied than just publishing the code. And it would be nice if coders (scientists in general also) would be more aware of that.

> > Anyway I don't think the problem
> is
> about the code
> > (which is mostly about technical
> matters), but about the use of
> > the code. In this case, the coder is
> not
> implied, but a
> > license agreement could help.
>
> Free software is about sharing
> advancements in computer science.

Yes, but not only. The GPL forces people to continue working with GPL (that's not what I call being free). It has nothing to do with computer science.

18 May 2001 21:44 jetson123

it's really simple
Whoever gets to write the code chooses their license.

So, if you think imposing those kinds of restrictions
helps, by all means, go ahead and do it. I think trying
to restrict software in that way is counterproductive.

24 May 2001 12:10 DontTreadOnMe

Re: License as Contract

>
%There are five components
> to a contract: offer, acceptance,
> consideration, capacity, and legality.
> [...] There is
> no consideration:
> "consideration" means that the
> parties to the contract must each incur
> a legal benefit and a legal detriment.
> In this case, the author of the software
> has no legal benefit. Thus there is no
> consideration and no contract. QED.

The consideration that an author receives is the
assurance that any changes which are made to his
or her work and subsequently published will be
made available to everyone, including the author,
under exactly the same conditions as those under
which the author made his or her work available.
This benefit has real value, in that the author's
work is improved and the author's reputation as a
programmer elevated (which in turn can and often
does translate into real dollars earned, as a
consultant, an employee of a company seeking
such skills, etc.).

The detriment is that a person cannot take the
author's work, make changes, and then sell the
changes without giving said improvements back to
the author and any other users of the work.

"Consideration" does not have to be cold, hard
cash to have real, tangible, and obvious value. If
it did, the law would say "money," not
"consideration."

24 May 2001 14:46 bstpierre

Re: License as Contract

>
> %
> %There are five components
> % to a contract: offer, acceptance,
> % consideration, capacity, and
> legality.

> The consideration that an author
> receives is the
> assurance that any changes which are
> made to his
> or her work and subsequently published
> will be
> made available to everyone, including [...]

> The detriment is that a person cannot
> take the
> author's work, make changes, and then
> sell the
> changes without giving said
> improvements back to
> the author and any other users of the
> work.
>
> "Consideration" does not
> have to be cold, hard
> cash to have real, tangible, and
> obvious value. If
> it did, the law would say
> "money," not
> "consideration."

What you say above is correct -- especially the fact that each legal benefit and legal detriment must have "real, tangible, and obvious value". I'll grant that what you describe is a legal benefit for the author (I'm not certain a court would agree). Note, however, that *each party* to the contract must incur both a legal benefit and a legal detriment. The detriment for the licensee is questionable, but I'll even give you that. Now what is the legal detriment for the author? It can't be the effort expended to create the software, it must be a new obligation (this is the way the contract law describes consideration). Of course, the legal benefit for the licensee if obvious.

26 May 2001 17:27 telenieko

No mind about that
If someone tried to restrict the freedom of information it would be morally punished, and as soon as the world showed offended by that those who tried to attempt to people rights would be punished. If a governenment decided to restrict what information someone could see on the net it would be punished, maybe doing nice iptables -j DENY to all of it's IP blocks. No country wants all of it's internet traffic to be denied (lots of money lost!) and the same goes for ISP's companies, etc. As long as there's a risk to be punished there will not be an infringenment of people's rights.

About IBM, Auswitch and all that. Everybody has a past, and everyone has done bad thinks. Probed or not, we all (?) try to do our best. Maybe someone left his/her boy/girlfriend for another boy/girl , which is a really bad thing, but then spent lots of time with the old girl/boyfriend to make sure he/she was right. So, good things and bad ones go toghether. And we can't judge somebody (or some enterprise) just by the things they did in a far past. Just look at all the things that were made possible thanks to IBM, for example, you can read me thanks to IBM, also thanks to Linux Torvalds, also Bill Gates (so sure taht there at least one hop between me and FM that is win based), and to lots of people and companies that all have done bad bad things (the first bad thing was to invent windows... ;o)

So, stop bullshitting about IBM and nazis, I don't think FM is there to discuss that kind of things. And don't worry about your freedoms, starting from expression and information, the world is there for that. If GPL software is used to restrict our freedoms we'll solve that.

See you,
TeLeNiEkO (MuPPeT)

29 May 2001 07:05 phactorials

Too many goodsides
Yes, it is true that you can change lots of software under GPL to do something that its intent was not to do but the fact is that open source software licenses have too many goodsider. If there was a bug in a program or a possible security hole the user can just edit the source code and fix the problem. If the program does not have what the user needs, he/she can fix it to his needs. If a software producer needs any help with the creation of his software, thanks to GPL and other open source software licenses the software producer will be able to hire employees to work on the application source code remotely.

30 May 2001 10:16 alba

Re: Cultural differences
> What I'm saying is that there is no

> difference between asking that software

> be free (the GPL) and asking that it not

> be used by the military, say.

I want to toy around with free software.

See how it works.

Improve it, probably send in patches.

Just for the fun of it.

One important freedom is the possibility to combine source code from different projects. Either by just assembling a distribution, or mixing features. And all these funny new licenses just make this complicated. A restriction here, a legal hassle there, and all just good intensions.

GOOD INTENSIONS MY ASS!

Fragmentation is one of the worst things that can happen to the free software scene. Morality of usage has nothing to do with freedom of source.

01 Jun 2001 17:36 d0ngle

Re: Hmm

> Don't you think that selling of knives
> must be restricted, since they may be
> used to kill people?

No. I also don't think that knife manufacturers are legally liable for the death and injury that occurs when an individual aquires their product and uses it to commit an assault.

But it's a weird world, at least here in the US, what with city and state governments suing handgun manufacturers, doctors equating gun-related injuries with health threats from viral infections, and so forth.

The original poster should, however, consider a quote (which I'm sorry that I can't attribute, but it's not from ME) that I read once in a discussion of exactly the kind of filtering/route-hijacking he is afraid of:

"The Internet equates censorship with damage, and routes around it."

It's theoretically possible for a political entity to attempt what it describe above. Doing so on any large scale and with any expectation of success, however, would require substantial resources; any entity that could bring those resources to bear would have no trouble implementing such a system without infringing on the open-source license of some hypothetical tool, if they even wanted to be bothered with compliance (as pointed out above in another comment.)

Also, nobody seems to have picked up on the fact that in plenty of placed in the world, the expectation of some right to unlimited access to information simply doesn't exist. Many countries have laws (stated or de facto) which restrict the content that one can obtain or own or speak or broadcast or whatever, UDHR not withstanding.


> Freedom is freedom - it can't be
> different, so when you do something (or
> before you do something), just think
> about consequences...
>
> If you place restrictions on use, you
> narrow freedom and rights, isn't?
>

No freedom is absolute. If it was, we would all be gods, and there would be no such thing as consequences. And conversations like this one tend to wander because all us post-modern folks have been trying to believe that freedom is both absolute and self-existing. Sorry; you're free to step off the plane at any time, but the universe decides what happens next, regardless of your karma or denials. It's not a question of whether you will hit the ground, it's only a question of how hard. The universe, the government, your neighbors, and your mom are all at this moment defining the limits of your freedom.

03 Jun 2001 16:25 lunk

You have it backwards
*ANY* changes in the software used must be published under the GPL which is what allows the freedom to make those redirections in information public knowledge. Having everything public knowledge is what keeps you safe from those types of repressions.

06 Jun 2001 12:33 iamdamaged

Re: Political Correctness is just another Fascism

> I'm afraid you'll have to explain a bit
> more... Otherwise your comment is
> useless (agressive ? stupid ?).

Explain?..ok here goes...I was calling them little Hitlers..this guy he was killing jewish people, he was responsible for the Holocaust...does any of this ring a bell?...is it understandable now?...if it isn't i'm afraid i lost my english->retard translator book...thats as easy as i can explain it to you.

06 Jun 2001 12:36 iamdamaged

Re: Political Correctness is just another Fascism

>
> % The problem is that you, the coder
> that chooses the license, forces his
> % personal ethics onto everyone
> else.
>
>
> I thought that was a feature, not a
> bug. If you don't like the ethics,
> don't use the code. Why should I write
> free software for people that are
> screwing up my environment?
>

Not use it?...thats unrealistic what people WILL do is delete your silly humane GPL garbage, do a search replace on your code, remove your name, and release it anyways....what ya gonna do?...SUE?...hahahahaha..you people still don't get it...

06 Jun 2001 12:45 iamdamaged

Re: Code ownership...

> I'm starting to see that code ownership
> is kind-of the issue here. I (or people
> arguing for this idea) seem to be called
> Hitler (I suggest people get a little
> sense of perspective) because I want to
> control code that I write.
>
> There seems to be an assumption that
> code I (for example) write belongs to
> everyone. That by restricting how that
> code is used I am *forcing* others to
> behave as I want.
>
> But just because I release code for
> free doesn't mean it isn't my work. Why
> shouldn't I have control over what I
> produce? If people don't like the
> licence, they don't need to use the
> code. The only *forcing* I am doing is
> refusing to support people whose
> behaviour I find
> wrong/offensive/dangerous...
>

Who says anyone HAS to deny/go against use of his/her code in the future?...you seem to be wanting to defend yourself from some paranoia fantasy that your new Perl module is going to be used to torture some group of people...someone capable of doing such things is SURLEY not gonna give a god damn hoot about whether YOU agree or not, and it certainly is not going to stop SOMEONE out there from saying "hey its so and sos fault he WROTE that software" you guys are wasting time even considering such a clause...it's utterly moronic.

06 Jun 2001 13:02 iamdamaged

Re: Code ownership...

> Do you really consider ideas to be
> weapons?
>
>

Have we forgotten "The pen is mightier than the sword"?

06 Jun 2001 13:20 iamdamaged

Re: What about the war pigz?

> You know, I never hear anybody talking
> about the ethical issues of about 80% of
> computer science research funding coming
> from the military. The GNU project's
> web site does make some cuts at the Java
> language because the Island of Java is
> part of Indonesia, an authoritarian
> hellhole that committed genocide against
> the people of East Timor. However,
> "radical" Stallman would never
> endanger his comfortable position with
> M.I.T. by suggesting that the people
> down the hall are working on technology
> that's going to help make life miserable
> for people in both rich and poor
> countries.
>
> Just to take a simple example,
> ordinary people are averse to killing
> other people. In WWII, only about 30%
> of people who "should" have
> pulled the triggers on their guns did.
> Now, the military realized there was no
> sense in feeding, clothing, and
> transporting 2/3 of the people who
> aren't going to kill anybody, so they
> developed techniques of simulation
> training that raised the "kill
> ratio" to over 90% in Vietnam.
>
> In the 1970's, simulation techniques
> were further refined, particularly for
> "counterterrorist" operations.
> Research in "virtual reality"
> began at M.I.T. for the specific purpose
> of training soldiers by having them kill
> so many simulated prople so that they
> wouldn't have any hesitation when it
> came to killing real people.
>
> This kind of simulation training not
> only hurts the people who are killed,
> but it also hurts the killers. People
> know it's wrong to kill, and people who
> kill feel strong psychological distress
> which can scar them for life with post
> traumatic stress disorder. The reason
> why you see so many f**ked up Vietnam
> vets on the street who can't work or
> even manage to live in an apartment
> while collecting welfare is because of
> the use of primitive forms of simulation
> training. Today's more efficient
> techniques produce monsters like Timothy
> McVeigh.

War is like death, some would argue it IS death, but like death, war is sometimes necessary, we all have some degree of freedom in the US for instance, but we had to fight to keep it, we had to make sacrifices, it is the way humans are, like it or not, abeit not ALL wars are necassary...but we are an imperfect race and we error on both sides.

10 Jun 2001 15:36 Junglejunkee

Hm..
This is really quite foolish.

I'm almost sickened by the oncoming of this new wave of 'intellectual property' power struggles. All over the geek news sites, all you see is talk about intellectual property.

Intellectual property should only come into consideration when your software is created for YOUR USE only and it is stolen. Then, by all means, cry, whine, bitch and call your lawyer. You have that right. If you create a new database software for your company that is 10x better than anything on the market, and an employee steals it, modifies the source and sells it, you should be able to do something about that -- and even this is only MY opinion.

The problem is, people create software and release it to the public domain, no matter if they charge for it or not, and then want to cry when people do what they want with it. If you park your car in a bad neighborhood with the doors open, the keys in the ignition and leave a note on the seat that says "you can use this, just make sure you bring it back by 4:30 tomorrow", you should know well enough that you're not getting your car back (at least not in the same condition). Why is it that people who create something (code, music, literature, whatever) and release it to the public EXPECT their goods to be held to a higher standard.

Any license, in any form, is stupid to begin with. People are going to do what they want. To use a license to promote your own ethics isnt going to work, so why the hell you even brought it up is beyond me.

Ethics and morals are a personal thing. We as people have already lost enough rights to this type of 'legislate the shit out of everything so everything is equal' attitude. The world is not equal, or fair, or even inherently (sp?) good. Stop worrying about other people and tend to your own backyard. You cannot change others by imposing your beliefs on them. Instead, try being the best person you can be by your own standard, and hope others fall in line or at least respect that standard.

Just some food for thought..

20 Jun 2001 22:45 MrDragonfly

Re: What about the war pigz?

> You know, I never hear anybody talking
> about the ethical issues of about 80% of
> computer science research funding coming
> from the military.

The British Computer Society had to deal with this same problem when a programmer who worked for one of the big tobacco firms applied for membership. He was refused on ethical grounds.

But you're right. Most of the technology that has been developed since the bronze age has been used in the military fields, before us civilians get to use it.

The other point to remember is that in the USA there is supposed to be a strict separation between what the federal Govt. is allowed to do in funding industrial research. Pure research is cool, but directly funding US companies, strictly speaking, not allowed. There have been a lot of arguements between the EU and the US over this.

One of the ways around this is for the US DoD to directly fund military research, and let the researching company keep the commercial applications. The US DoD funded research into the developement of a flying fuel tanker. They received their prototype and let Boeing keep the commercial applications. Remove the tanks, add the seats and you have the Boeing 747.

> This kind of simulation training not
> only hurts the people who are killed,
> but it also hurts the killers. People
> know it's wrong to kill, and people who
> kill feel strong psychological distress
> which can scar them for life with post
> traumatic stress disorder. The reason
> why you see so many f**ked up Vietnam
> vets on the street who can't work or
> even manage to live in an apartment
> while collecting welfare is because of
> the use of primitive forms of simulation
> training.

Have you played Doom recently?

20 Jun 2001 23:05 MrDragonfly

Re: Community comments..

>
> % Please don't overreact on the
> WRONG
> % notions. You are making wild
> % accusations based on technical
> responses
> % on a technical related website about
> a
> % very non-technical issue.
> Conclusions
> % like these can't be made one way or
> the
> % other.
>
>
> Actually, my opinion is based on my
> long standing experience with technical
> people. Definitely, NOT all of us are
> like that. And don't take this
> personally (I haven't checked what were
> your comments if any). And, basically,
> my point was that no matter if we're
> doing technical stuff or building a
> house we should remain humans. Or at
> least do our best to remain humans.

Not just computer techies. Look at the attitude of most scientists to political arguements. One rather paranoid ( but possibly correct) friend holds that this is part of the problem of the "scientific objectivity" worldview. By teaching scientists and techies to be apolitical It becomes possible to manipulate them more easily, and through them, everybody else. I don't feel that it as deliberate as he feels, but the problem is there. The subject-object divide which allows psychopaths to see other human beings as objects to be played with. On a small scale - serial killers. On a large scale - genocide.

Oppenheimer and his colleagues had to face these same questions when they developed the Manhattan Project.

Open Source Software isn't necessarily going to have the same potential for creating mass destruction, but the moral and ethical problems remain.

25 Jun 2001 12:52 bhovell2

Information wants to be free!

Hmmm ... really? Well, if that's so, how do you
feel about unrestricted access to your medical
records? Would it be ok to use GPL software employed to restrict it from prying eyes?

As to governments concealing information from
their citizenry, this is a common practice -- and
many would argue a necessary one, at least in some
cases such as sensitive on-going diplomatic
discussions. That it's also frequently abused goes
without saying, governments being what they are.
They are, after all, the single institution which
mainly does as it pleases, with duly annointed
statutes ready at hand to make it all "legal" --
and with no noticeable consequence, even if breach
of the law is entirely indisputable.

It would be idle fantasy to count on some
restriction by private contract to have any effect
whatever on actual behaviors of national government. The crown, after all, can only be
sued by its own agreement. And it only agrees when
it is politically expedient.

There is nothing to criticize about any urge
to defend liberty. But liberty isn't license, and the
devil is often in the details when real life inevitably
compels determination of where one ends and
the other takes up.

Lawyers make a very fine living, in the US,
because so many of our laws have been driven into
existence by teary-eyed sentiment, unalloyed by
the minimum legal precision necessary to readily
define standards of compliance.

Often, therefore, the courts simply have to
make it up as they go along because the legislature
had no clear idea of what they intended -- except
pandering to constituents to perpetuate
incumbancy. Too cynical you say? Look again.

I compliment your sentiments. But I worry also
about possible consequences, were your idea ever
to get real "legs" and end up in the court system.

Age-old wisdom cautions we be careful what
we ask for -- for fear we might get it.

28 Jun 2001 07:04 nagydani

Freedom ZERO
If a license denies Freedom #0, that is the use of
the software for any purpose, no matter how
malicous by someone's standards, it is NOT A FREE
SOFTWARE LICENSE. I am aware that Open-Source is
not exactly Free Software but Open Source does not
have a consistent moral standard, as far as I
know. It is a more pragmatic approach.

However, I think that Freedom #0 is essential even
for the less zealous freedom seekers. Should anyone
question it, the question "Who decides?" arises at
once. Indeed, who shall decide what use of a piece
of software is appropriate and what is not? The
author? I don't think so.

The Open-Source development process involves
contributions from many co-authors, who usually
accept the leadership of the original author,
though not always; Remember the emacs/xemacs fork.
Did the author claim any other right than being
mentioned as the original author (which is the
ONLY RIGHTFUL AUTHOR'S RIGHT, which should be
unalienable, in my opinion, and all other IP
rights are harmful and unjust) others would not
contribute as readily as they did otherwise. What
prevents non-free software projects from attracting
a broad co-developer audinence similar to that of
the free projects? I think, it is the lack of freedom.

You inevitably alienate co-developers by imposing
restrictions on the use of your software. Freedom
is a key element in the success of our flourishing
open-source community. Take it away, and it will
collapse, no matter how noble your intentions are.

Finally, I think, you cannot prevent anything like
massacres, genocides or holocausts by software
licenses. If you delve deeper into the issue, you
find that law is mere fiction. GNU GPL has not
been tried at courts. The free
software paradigm shall endure much farther than
law-based market economies, since it does not
require laws, law enforcement and markets to
function and thrive. A restriction, however, that
you are proposing to impose, would only be
effective through law enforcement, which is
arguably flawed in many ways.

Western-style democracy and market economy is not
necessarily the last word in the evolution of our
societies. Free Software appears to be more
fundamental an achievement, in my view. Along with
freedom #0.

28 Jun 2001 12:10 Lovechild

Free software ??
If we restrict the use of free software, then it wouldn't
be free anymore.

I think it is a bad idea to restrict the use of free
software - the idea is that everybody benfits from the
work, right ?

30 Jun 2001 22:23 Bourdieu

Re: Free software ??
I think we all realize that "rights" as the term is used here are not actual self contained entities. Rather they are merely those concepts and ideals that are provided by a society through the government's willingness to protect them through penalization or regrettably physical force. And depending upon the political tone of the moment the latter method is not always the last resort.

I have seen no evidence whatsoever that the UDHR has had any serious effect upon the overall level of freedom in the world. I have seen the effects of massive physical force and economic coercion on human rights. Both for the good and bad dependant upon your point of view.

Realistically speaking though, any government or organization of any size can find someone to develop the necessary software to meet their needs. The trick is for them to maintain the strength and integrity of said software against the attacks on it's undesired mode of use/misuse that are for all intents and purposes, a certainty.

The beauty of the whole IT realm is that it carries on the age old game that is best exemplified by the constant evolution of better more secure locks being followed by the evolution of better lockbreakers. As far as I'm concerned the more viruses and attacks all the way around, the better. It's in the battle where are wits are tested, honed, and polished.

If everyone cooperated we'd all be sipping tea in cozy huts singing Kum By Ya.

For my part, thank god Eve ate that apple. If it weren't for her naughty behaviour I fear I'd be spending my placid idyllic days attempting to convince the lions that the lambs they lie next to are delicious, lest they set their eyes on me and make things a little bit too interesting.

Ciao Babies

01 Jul 2001 11:21 windozesux

Puhleeze
Information, like any powerful tool, can be misused and used against other people. The intentions of this article are respectable, but the approach is wrong, and I don't think there's any real way to do it. If we start to "restrict" information because it could be used against us/others, that's just the first step to a Microsoft EULA.

Free information and software carries great benefits, but also risks, such as these political issues. That's just the way things are.

26 Aug 2001 02:53 pom

A very old problem
This is a very old problem that the lack of control of the use of intellectual productions. Adding any kind of "legal restrictions" is clearly no use, as the ones you would like to attack have all the legal ways to get ride of it. A similar problem happens in Science: shall I or not publish my results, given that I do not know exactly what can be done with it, and given that I have exactly no chance to know what will be all the possible positive vs negative consequences.

"Science sans conscience n'est que ruine de l'âme"
Science without conscience is only ruin of the soul (?)

-> No kind of contract may limit the intrisc responsability of the authors. But the inexistence of contract does not limit
the responsability of the user. In case of human-rights viloation, this later cause might be a reason for attacks, not the only misuse of a software.

-> As the dictators have usually more money and access to information than their victims, GPL is a way to decrease the importance of money and increase information, so that both parts eventually get equal access to softwares.

20 Oct 2001 11:06 stevow

Lions and tigers and bears . . . OH MY!
Ill take freedom of choice over freedom from anxiety any day. Justifying a viewpoint by using "WHAT IF . . . WHAT IF . . . !" hand wringing would have left us wondering if we should wear animal skins to stay warm. Just because an issue has not been considered before, does not mean it cannot be resolved.

P.S. To those involved in animal rights, please substitute "polyester" for "animal skins".

10 Mar 2003 16:32 parasew

too long for a comment but too short for a full article
i didn't read all the comments, as the list of postings is far too long, but as i see that may people are interested in this discussion i wanted to point you all to some references, that seem to fit in here.the free speech movement from the 60'www.fsm-a.org/ (www.fsm-a.org/ target=_blank)sunsite.berkeley.edu:2... (sunsite.berkeley.edu:2... target=_blank)`Free software'' is a matter of liberty, not price. To understand the concept,you should think of ``free'' as in ``free speech,'' not as in ``free beer.''www.gnu.org/philosophy... (www.gnu.org/philosophy... target=_blank)what also totally fits inside here, is part of the works of michelle foucault.info/ (foucault.info/ target=_blank)especially Discourse and foucault.info/document... (foucault.info/document... target=_blank)but foucault.info/document... (foucault.info/document... target=_blank)there have always been restrictions and laws, that are existing mostly because of powerful people and lobbies set them up.the best example is in austria and germany after the second world war: the political parties (equal if left or right wing) decided to stop returning so called "arisiertes eigentum" after some years of the war, because they had the fear of losing potential voters. this term used, means property which the nazis took from mostly jewish people and gave it to members of their movement (mostly they sold to raise money for the war). even if you look at this time, during the nazi-regime, information was hidden and destroyed that would not fit into their ideologies - disinformation and propaganda ruled.after the allies won WW2, in the places where the former 3rd reich was set up (germany, austria, etc.) they prohibited the party, the movement and all related iconographics, texts and so on (that's why extreme-right-wing parties still can exist in the us and everywhere else) -- from the point of free speech and free information also not the right decision.the strange thing is the fact that "hidden" or prohibited knowledge or information is even more attractive to some people. u-n-o.org/ (u-n-o.org/ target=_blank)foucault:discipline and foucault.info/document... (foucault.info/document... target=_blank)eye of power (on the panopticon-architecture in prisons)foucault.info/document... (foucault.info/document... target=_blank)the Subject and foucault.info/document... (foucault.info/document... target=_blank)not really the same but similar strategies can be watched nowadays when watching copyright issues and so on.http://www.infoworl... (www.infoworld.com/arti... target=_blank)anti-dmca.org/links.html (anti-dmca.org/links.html target=_blank)dmca.0rf.at/ (dmca.0rf.at/ target=_blank)information wants to be free!www.anu.edu.au/people/... (www.anu.edu.au/people/... target=_blank)mikro.org/Events/OS/in... (mikro.org/Events/OS/in... target=_blank)www.google.com/search?... (www.google.com/search?... target=_blank)but even when making all information digitally available, this doesn't mean that is is accesible for most of the people.the digital www.digitaldividenetwo... (www.digitaldividenetwo... target=_blank)www.ntia.doc.gov/ntiah... (www.ntia.doc.gov/ntiah... target=_blank)www.google.com/search?... (www.google.com/search?... target=_blank)how much are online? and where?www.bartleby.com/151/a... (www.bartleby.com/151/a... target=_blank)www.geog.ucl.ac.uk/cas... (www.geog.ucl.ac.uk/cas... target=_blank)www.mids.org/mapsale/w... (www.mids.org/mapsale/w... target=_blank)internet-statistics-gu... (internet-statistics-gu... target=_blank)the idea of free speech, same rights for everyone and free information is very old, but still not understood by the majority of people. actually some of them keep things like they are, to have their domination on some www.google.com/search?... (www.google.com/search?... target=_blank)see noam chomsky,monkeyfist.com/Chomsky... (monkeyfist.com/Chomsky... target=_blank)www.google.com/search?... (www.google.com/search?... target=_blank)especially the publications"war against people""profit over people"btw: why are these publications not freely available? ;) parasew---------------... (5uper.net target=_blank)

12 Mar 2003 00:11 aviyag

Re: Cultural differences
boycutting and GPL
i'm caling all , not to look/download or use
any of your software !!!
i'm sure it's not worth to look at.
add this to your license !

today you boycutt israelis, tomorrow you
(or some other fool who will follow you)
will boycutt americans, africans or anyone else.
the GNU/GPL is about giving freedom of use,and programming
to all. even to ones you don't agree with :)
i could add some explanation on the israeli point of view,
but, since i think that the GNU/GPL should leave politics outside i will leave this to other forums :)

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