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SubjectRe: Why is Nvidia given GPL'd code to use in non-free drivers?
On Sat, 4 Jan 2003, Richard Stallman wrote:

> Date: Sat, 04 Jan 2003 18:44:38 -0500
> From: Richard Stallman <>
> To:
> Cc:,,,
> Subject: Re: Why is Nvidia given GPL'd code to use in non-free drivers?
> I have the freedom to use Linux and ClearCase. If closed source modules
> were to be disallowed, it would be illegal for me to use this configuration,
> and I would be forced to use HP-UX or Solaris, and not Linux.
> You can't have freedom while using ClearCase, because it is non-free
> software. What we really need is a free replacement for it. Will
> people write one? Our main influence on whether people do this is by
> what we say. A strong Free Software Movement will inspire more people
> to reject non-free software and write free replacements.

Seeing this duscussion, I think that it will go for a lot of time, and
none will change his own position. Because I "mostly" agree with free software
goals, (not about this discussion, where I have a different opinion)
I would like to make some points why it will not possible to find an agreement
point beetwen contendants.

That is possibly one of the most interesting point.

- I am free because I have the freedom of choicheing the software I
do prefer, even non free-software nor open source

- I am free because I use just free-software that is the instrumentum
that warrants my freedom

Untill the real meaning of what is intended by being free will not be
defined, it is very difficoult to avoid this dual opposition.

That is a very important point, because you won't be able to
have a clear discussion with many of the subscribers of this mailing list,
simply because the mean a different application of freedom.

> Allowing non-free modules (whether they are open-source or not)
> weakens the impetus for people to make free extensions to Linux. The
> general attitude Linux developers take towards non-free software also
> weakens it. Your own message, citing this gap in Linux, will tend to
> discourage people from working to close the gap.

To be honest this is just partially true. Please consider the new
modules infrastructure with workqueue in 2.5 kernels.
Non GPL modules have a big
penalty, because they cannot create their own queue, but have to use a default

> All else being equal, I'm glad that you use a variant of the GNU
> system, but what system you use is not really important except to you.
> If you used HP-UX or Solaris, it would be your loss, not our
> community's loss.

This, as you answer to Mark, is another point that makes me curious.
If, just supposing,
I am using bash emacs gcc and other free software on HP-UX,
or AIX, or
Solaris, to do my work.
I am not complitelly free, because the kernel and some of
the utility of the system are not free.

then what is exactly my condition?
I should be half-free. And that seems mutch to me quite similar to the
Aristotelian distiction beetwen sapiens (free) and savius (half free).

But then free software is ported, rightly, on all platform, included
M$ (my syster uses bash and emacs and TeX in W2000, when we talk about

> Since our views have little in common with Communism, it is remarkable
> that our enemies sometimes call us Communists. Perhaps they do this
> because it is easier to attack Communism than confront our real views.

Who call you comunist is simply showing that he is complitelly
ignorant about what comunism is.

I suppose they use the word comunism because they
give to it a bad meaning. It is just a loose of time to consider
argumentation of people who use the "comunist" definition just
because they suppose this word should make a bad impression,
and maybe should scare.

[of topic]
Socialism, socialdemocracy and comunisms (there are more than one comunism)
are philosofical and
political systems that have really nothing to do with the
idea that most of people in the world have about them, because of
the leninist comunism (see "the three theories of socialdemocracy, written by
Lenin). But I see in this the bad influence of
a cultural propaganda made in USA in the fifties.
Where I live there has been the time when propaganda said that comunist
eat children. Well, in Italy the comunist party was around
30% by that times, and we never saw this cannibalism.

Half Europe has social and social democratic government, and nowhere
there is a law against private property. And nowhere in Europe
the modern comunist parties are proposing an abolition of private property.
[/of topic]

> It is the system of non-free software that resembles Stalinism. For
> more about this, see

I partially agree. I would say that closed source software sometimes
remembers me stalinism.
When it comes to other non free-software, but anyway open source
licenses it depends of the license terms.

I do suppose that at the beginning some of your oppositors
used the term comunist simply because the feeling of rigidity
that they could smell from your words. Or maybe because the comunist party
is known because of the strong discipline of its members, where
they could discuss very hard on topics, but when a decision was made, all
members were defending and sustaining and sharing the opinion of the party.

You cannot expect that everyone should share complitelly your opinions,
but, as it is normal, he could share some point, and be critical about some
other. Tha is the way that culture make its own progress.

> Real visionaries know that just having a vision does not change
> society. Sustained effort is necessary.

That is exactly what is your right to do, and
personally I thank you for this.
But sustained effort does not mean to make a war against
every minimal disagreement from a walled opinion.
And that is why this discussion will never end even with
people on lkml, who should/could be the ones nearest to share
at less the most part of your view.

Luigi Genoni

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