Subject: Re: law from the bottom up
From: shapj@us.ibm.com
Date: Tue, 28 Sep 1999 11:21:55 -0400

>I've learned that
>it is wisest not to pay too much attention to this kind of advice.
>Especially when a person who objects to the goal tells me it is
>impossible, that is likely to be wishful thinking.

Richard:

To the best of my knowledge I do not object those of your goals that I
understand.  It has taken me a while to feel that I understand some of them, and
I certainly do not support things that I do not understand.  This is not the
same as objecting.  Please do not attribute to me things that I have not said.

The point of my note was to suggest ways to respond more effectively, not to
deny that you had been insulted.  You are of course free to disregard those
suggestions.

>So, would you please stop comparing the GPL with a virus?  It's an
>insulting thing to say.

I do not see the term "virus" as inherently pejorative.  Since it seems to be
perceived so, I will certainly reconsider my word choice.  Until I have seen a
better one I will continue to use the best one I have seen to date.  However you
may regret it, that word is "viral:" GPL'd code infects the surrounding code
with GPL, which in turn causes that surrounding code to infect other code that
it contacts.  Sounds like a virus to me.

"Because you say so" is an inadequate reason to alter terms. If anyone ---
including you -- is able to dictate lexicon and dialectic the term "freedom"
loses all meaning.

That said, I will gladly adopt more accurate analogies and terms as I become
aware of them.  Suggestions are more than welcome.


Jonathan S. Shapiro, Ph. D.
IBM T.J. Watson Research Center
Email: shapj@us.ibm.com
Phone: +1 914 784 7085  (Tieline: 863)
Fax: +1 914 784 7595