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SubjectRe: Bitkeeper outrage, old and new
On Mon, Oct 21, 2002 at 11:12:53PM -0400, Richard Stallman wrote:
> Nobody's evil or stupid or naive just because they make a certain
> licensing choice.
>
> It is a stretch to conclude anything about the general attitude or
> character of a person from one action, so I would not say the people
> who distribute non-free software are "evil people" in a general sense.
> I will say they have done one thing that is evil: distributing a
> non-free program.
>
> Non-free software licenses are designed to divide and dominate the
> users, denying them the basic freedoms for software users. That's
> what makes them non-free, and that is what makes it wrong. Non-free
> software is a social problem, one that we need to solve if computer
> users are to have freedom.
>
> There are many different ways people make money; some are ethical
> while others involve mistreating others. If we accept "making a
> living" as a valid excuse to mistreat people, we will be mistreated
> constantly. There comes a time when we have to say that we are not
> impressed by the argument that "We need to do this to people in order
> to make a living."

It's a simple concept. I produced it, it's mine until I say otherwise.
You grant other laborers the right to profit from their labors, do you
not? Setting standards the way you have is arbitrary and high-handed.
Calling people (or their actions) "evil" because they prefer to code
for a living rather than dig ditches or answer telephones is rather
arrogant and self-righteous. My charging for software *I* write is not
immoral or unethical - it is what I do and it is perfectly legitimate.
It is NOT the same as claiming a criminal/immoral/unethical act - you
still want me to produce software - you just want me to do it for free.
And no, I am not doing anything to people - they are free to not use my
software. The majority of the world gets along just fine without it.

--
Murray J. Root
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