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SubjectRe: Bitkeeper outrage, old and new
    >       Freedom includes
> for me that I can use any software that I have legally licensed (or
> written myself) without people complaining about it publically.
> You are asking for the power to silence criticism. That is not
> freedom, that is a power.

You responded to this point by changing the subject completely, so it
looks like you have no argument against the point itself.

Richard, the day that the GPL doesn't use it's power to force people to
do things they may not want to do is the day that you get to make the
above statement in public without getting flamed.

Alas, by flaming me now you have made your own statement untrue.

The GPL protects the crucial freedoms for every user, which means that
middlemen cannot pass along our code but strip off the freedom. It
doesn't let Mr. Bill use our code in the way he would like to, and
perhaps it doesn't let you use our code in the way you would like to,
but it doesn't force you to do anything. The GPL, like other free
software licenses, respects for the users the essential freedoms that
all software users should have. This the crucial ethical difference
between the GPL (and other free software licenses) and a non-free

If you really believed
in freedom then the GPL would just be the same as the public domain.

This is the old "We're not free unless we are `free' to deny freedom
to others" argument that some (not all) advocates of the BSD license
often make. It is a word game intended to render the concept of
freedom so confused that people can't think about it any more. Once
people see through this, it loses its effect.

I refer people to for more
discussion of this issue.

Your position seems to say "I, Richard Stallman, know what is the right
answer for the world. So the rights I took away in the GPL are OK but
the rights that other people take away in other licenses are not OK".
A tad hypocritical, wouldn't you say?

My position is rather different from that. What I say is that
computer users are entitled to the freedom to study, change, and
redistribute the software they use. See for a discussion of
this issue.

The existing legal system for software is unjust because it is
designed to help developers to deny users those freedoms. However,
using it in turnabout, to protect those freedoms, is a proper response
to the situation as it exists. (This is the basic concept of
copyleft.) See for
more explanation.

The GPL prohibits trampling the freedom of others. Those who wish to
make non-free software, those who would not respect the freedom of
others, often cry bloody murder about this "restriction". But even as
they complain that they cannot put our code into their non-free
products, they are refusing to let us put their code into our free
software packages. More than a tad hypocritical, I would say.
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