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SubjectRe: mea culpa on the meaning of Tivoization
On Jun 17, 2007, Alan Cox <> wrote:

>> > In practical terms it does since a recall/replacement in the event of
>> > rule changes is a bit impractical
>> Indeed. But that's not a legal requirement, it's an economic reason.

> Cynical Economists would argue 'legal requirements' are just changes to
> the cost of the various economic options. Sometimes when I look at
> Microsoft's approach to various cases it seems they think that way too.

I guess this depends to some point on the kind of penalties you face.
If they're only economic, then yes. If you may end up going to jail
or some such, I think the picture gets different. But yes, that's a
way to see it, and I know we're not alone in perceiving some behaviors
that way.

> I can tell you how to upgrade it ("you can't") yet I as the manufacturer
> can issue new units with modified code so I still control it even though
> it is meant to be "free"

The GPL has never prohibited the distribution of software in ROM, just
like it's never prohibited the fixation of software in CD-ROMs. So
explicitly permitting is not a step back in terms of defending
freedoms, even if there might be something to do that would advance
freedoms in this field.

Anyhow, AFAIK software in ROM is not non-Free Software. That it's
impossible to modify/replace/whathaveyou it is not the result of a
restriction that someone is imposing on you.

It's the difference between "you can't fly because you don't have
wings" and "you won't fly because I've tied your wings". With tied
wings, you're evidently not free to fly any more. But if the problem
is that you don't have wings, if you're free and sufficiently
creative, you may be able to invent baloons, airplanes, rockets et al
and overcome the barriers that nature poses for you.

Alexandre Oliva
FSF Latin America Board Member
Red Hat Compiler Engineer aoliva@{,}
Free Software Evangelist oliva@{,}
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