Subject: Re: the walls have ears
Date: 27 May 1999 19:06:16 -0000

>After reading this a few times, it seems to me that Richar'd ``measure
>of freedom'' is about:
>    freedom for code
>and most people's measure of freedom is about:
>    freedom for people

No, you read what he wrote wrong.  Please see my post.  What you are
saying is exactly what GPL opponents have been saying for something
like ten years, and it has never been correct, even though *some*
GPL opponents (*not* RMS) often use language that suggests they *are*
focusing on freedom of code (usually because they write poorly,
getting carried away with an abstraction, as that's easy enough to do).

RMS, the FSF, the GPL, and myself, care not one whit about "freedom
for code".  For my part, that's simply because code is not people, it
has no rights, it has no responsibilities (the two go hand-in-hand,
which is why I find the phrase "animal rights" to be nearly 100%
absurd), and, to the extent anyone argues (from a viewpoint I happen
to agree with) that "ideas are eternal, therefore they cannot be
restricted", then nothing we do can actually limit the freedom of *code*.

>Certainly, GPL gives the most freedome for code.  But it clearly gives
>the people receiving the code less choices.  Can't we focus on the
>people when we talk about freedom?  After all, a license is passed from
>one person to another and not by code having babies.

GPL does not give the "most freedom for code" even if you look at that
as the point of it, because the code cannot decide for itself to go
into a distributed proprietary product.  Public-domain code gives
the most freedom, from that point of view.  That code can get up in
the morning, find itself a nice, warm spot in MS Windows 2000, cozy
up next to some BSD code, and ride on out to public release, without
having to ask for approval from anyone.

Indeed, let's focus on the freedom of the *people*, not on creating
tired, old, straw-man arguments.

Are you free to distribute the *source code* to the products you, your
company, your neighbors, and your friends are using *right now*?

The answer is "yes" if that code contains GPL'ed code, quite likely
"no" otherwise.

That's not the *complete* definition of freedom, but it's the viewpoint RMS
was getting across.

And, you'll note, it has *nothing* to do with "freedom of code", because
the *source code* doesn't distribute itself.

(Yet.  :)

        tq vm, (burley)