couple quick quotes

  • “I think [defining BSD as ‘free because it has no restrictions’ and GPL as ‘not free because it has restrictions’] confuses freedom with anarchy.” —James Vasile. As concise and correct a refutation of this position as I’ve seen.
  • Obama on patriotism:

I love this country not because it’s perfect, but because we’ve always been able to move it closer to perfection. Because through revolution and slavery; war and depression; great battles for civil rights and women’s rights and worker’s rights, generations of Americans have shown their love of country by struggling and sacrificing and risking their lives to bring us that much closer to our founding promise. And as long as I live, I will never forget that I am only standing here because they did… It’s a country where the improbable love of my parents was actually possible; where my mother could raise me without much money but still send me to the best schools in the nation; a country where I’ve seen hope triumph in neighborhoods that were devastated by joblessness and poverty; where I’ve seen ordinary Americans find justice in a courtroom; where I’ve seen progress made for working families who need leaders who are willing to stand up and fight for them. That is the country I love. That is the promise of America.

16 thoughts on “couple quick quotes”

  1. “I will never forget that I am only standing here because they did…” Maybe he’ll get rid of 120 year copyrights so that we can talk about what they did.

  2. No political trolling, sorry, particularly anonymous trolling. Plenty of other places to do it on the web. –Ed.

    (Critiques of the entire concept of patriotism, e.g., are acceptable.)

  3. “This isn’t dictionary freedom.”

    So doesn’t that mean it’s not really “free as in free speech”?

    (“To protect your right to free speech, we need to make certain restrictions that forbid anyone to deny you these rights. These restrictions translate to certain responsibilities for you if you speak. For example, if you speak to someone, you must make sure to inform them that they can speak freely as well.”)

    And doesn’t that mean it’s even sillier to try and convince the world that “free software” doesn’t mean “$0 software”, if they’re not even using the word “free” in any standard sense?

  4. Even in the US, free speech isn’t anarchist/dictionary-free; among other things you can’t yell fire in a crowded theater, and you can’t lie in advertising/commercial speech. Not the same types of restrictions as in the GPL, but restrictions nevertheless.

    That said, I do agree that free is a brutally overloaded term that does as much to confuse than it does to illuminate. I just don’t agree to this particular gotcha ;)

  5. The statement that “BSD is to GPL as anarchy is to freedom” is rather a loaded way of saying things. For instance, those who favor anarchy over a government (cathedral) style will of course object. And those who favor proprietary software will immediately object to having their positive views of the BSD license compared to anarchy.

    Rather, the central question is *whose* freedoms are being guaranteed.

    In the case of the BSD license, the secondary developers’ rights (i.e. those receiving the BSD-licensed code) are (mostly; there are still some restrictions regarding copyright notices) maintained at the expense of allowing the downstream users/developers rights to be impinged upon.

    In the case of the GPL, the secondary developers’ rights are impinged upon to maintain the downstream user/developers’ rights.

  6. To add completeness, the BSD advocates I’ve come across are generally those who are the primary or secondary developers. They are quite rightly concerned about the GPL impinging on their rights. However, they appear to not step back to see the global decrease in freedom inherent in the BSD license, as almost all software users are downstream, not secondary (let alone primary). Rather sad IMHO.

  7. jeff: this is true no matter what the license is. You’ll note that just about any non-OSI license will be *more* restrictive to secondary developers than the GPL! Yet this somehow goes unmentioned in the discussions.

    Yes, the impingement is voluntary to the extent the software itself is voluntary. (see also people’s objection to MS Windows licensing yet their continued use of it)

  8. Yes, but what do we mean by “anarchy”? It’s an interesting question, because Vasile seems to be using it to mean “chaos”, but I think his wider question has interesting intersections with the political concept of that name as well.

    In the US I’ve seen a number of people whose political leanings are somewhere around those of the Libertarian Party define themselves as “anarchists”, and these people have often decried anti-authoritarian, anti-capitalist communists and socialists who also call themselves “anarchists” on the grounds that a prohibition on capitalism is considered to a restriction on these people; the anarchists of the Left then counter that capital is merely an abstraction of power, power means among other things “being able to tell people what to do”, and ultimately it boils down to a question of the extent to which a “free” society means that its members have the “freedom” to restrict the “freedoms” of others.

    So I’ve often thought that those who tell the anarchosyndicalists and anarchocommunists that their freedom isn’t really free (because it means they wouldn’t be able to restrict the freedom of others by introducing wage-slavery), and those who tell users of the GPL that their freedom isn’t really free (because it means they wouldn’t be able to restrict the freedom of others by stopping them using copies of the code freely) are arguing along rather similar lines.

  9. Joseph: In my experience it’s not that the BSD-license-preferers are more concerned about their freedom than about end users’ freedom. It’s that they reject the idea that proprietary software is bad, and that users are in all circumstances best served by having software that they can modify.

    I’d say the FSF/GPL view is “BSD-licensed software is less good, because it can be incorporated into proprietary software, and then people might use that proprietary software, which would impinge on their freedom. The free software movement is important because it creates software that helps people while preserving their freedom.”

    Whereas the BSD view is “GPL-licensed software is less good, because it can’t be incorporated into as many different kinds of software, and so it is overall less likely that developers will be able to use it to help users solve their problems. The open source movement is important because it’s a great way for lots of people to work together to create software that helps people solve their problems.”

  10. The GPL is talking about ‘free as in freedom’. So if you talk about freedom you should consider the true meaning not something that fits for software. Remember? *Freedom*. Anarchy is freedom with *rules*, rules based on reasoning! While ensuring freedom, you’re restricting real freedom step by step instead of really supporting it.

    >They are two different conceptions of freedom,

    There aren’t different conceptions of freedom just many abuses of the term to fit some bewildering environments like software. This you will learn in the first year in philosophy. A dictionary or maybe the Wikipedia isn’t a real help to understand it and this is the problem of Stallman too, he misuses the term because he doesn’t understand it. A license without a copyleft has something to do with confidence. First the human being, then the rest. There is no software first or something similar if you’re talking of freedom. Stop the mockery, please or use something different than freedom.

  11. There is no freedom lost by using the BSD license, unless you define freedom as “the freedom to help myself to other people’s improvements to BSD licensed code”. Antipathy towards the BSD license seems to be based mainly on fear of proprietary forks overtaking the original projects, which has turned out to be largely illusory. Even Apple (!) contributes back to BSD projects.

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