Subject: Re: Open Content woes
From: Richard Stallman <>
Date: Mon, 27 Sep 1999 15:11:57 -0600 (MDT)

    Sorry, Richard, I'm not buying it. Language is a shared resource, and
    meaning of words is determined in a public forum. 

I agree.  That is why I asked a public forum what they think it means.
I made a reality check on my idea of the word, out of respect to those
who have said it now has a positive meaning.

I'm prepared to accept a positive meaning for the word "viral", if and
when I see that's what the public takes it to mean.  But it appears
that this is not the case now.  I will keep asking in other speeches
and see if there is any change.

    I can't stop you from feeling insulted. But if you find me using the term
    "viral" as a description of the GPL, and doing so in a public forum, I'd
    suggest you look at the whole context and make sure you understand the
    shared meaning before labeling me a name caller.

The context has only limited power to override the connotation that a
word brings to a discussion.  Since your point overall was criticism,
it is clear that harsh words will feed that criticism.  I responded
to the issue you raised, but next time would you please make your point
without the harshness of words like "viral"?