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SubjectRe: Bitkeeper outrage, old and new
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Larry McVoy <lm@bitmover.com> writes:

> > 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.
>
> 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. Today is not that day.

Richard has seems not to have a precise edge in meaning, which makes his comments
rather inappropriate for a technical list, but otherwise he is not far
off the mark.. Implementing a system with freedom always means
finding a compromise between being able to do anything yourself, and
not allowing other people to do nasty things to you.

> Just admit that the GPL forces people to do things just the same as a
> traditional license forces people to do things. You speak of freedom
> yet you took that freedom away with the GPL. If you really believed
> in freedom then the GPL would just be the same as the public domain.
> *That's* freedom. The BSD license is far closer to a truly free license,
> the GPL isn't even remotely close to a free license.

Hogwash. The BSD license has not provisions to keep the source code
freely available. Consider what the world would be like if anyone was
allowed to do anything to you they wanted, if murder was legal.

The GPL forces people to respect others freedom to use a work so
covered. That is still a power, but used in a good way. The power
to silence criticism is definitely not a power that enhances anyones
freedom.

> I have no problem with the GPL, I think it's a fine license if your
> goal is to have things done out in the open with no hoarding. A great
> license, in fact. But I have a big problem with this constant harping
> on the term "freedom". The GPL absolutely positively does not grant me
> all the rights I want, it took substantial portions of my freedom away.
> I am not free to use GPL source in any way I wish and neither is anyone
> else.

I want the right to murder you can I have that?

Freedom is not about having the ability to do anything, without
punishment. Only about having that ability so long as it does not
restrict the freedom of others. Anti-hoarding seems to fit that
definition for me.

I do agree that the GPL is an imperfect enforcer of freedom. It makes
it hard to mix and match GPL'd code with code that comes from another
source.

> I'm OK with you having a free license, go make one. I'm OK with you
> sticking with the GPL, but then you get admit that it is not a free
> license and stop kidding yourself and others.

All that needs to be admitted is that freedom has teeth.

Eric
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