Subject: Re: Open letter to those who believe in a right to free software
From: "Stephen J. Turnbull" <>
Date: Thu, 28 Oct 1999 16:12:16 +0900 (JST)

A large part of the discussion taken private; most of Ian's post is
pure ethics, and I've foresworn discussing ethics proper on the list.
I will send copies of my response upon request.

Ian: do you have any objection to adding people to our private thread
as CCs if they so request?


>>>>> "Ian" == Ian Lance Taylor <> writes:

    Ian> I'm not clear as to whether you are still unclear on the
    Ian> rationalization of the ethical argument for free software.

I never was.  What I continue to be unclear on is the rationalization
of the ethical argument against proprietary software.

Economic modeling:

    Ian> That's a great power, and in particular it means that an
    Ian> individual free software author has more power than a
    Ian> significant number of proprietary software developers.  If
    Ian> you want to capture the incentives to write free software,
    Ian> don't neglect the heady feeling of knowing that thousands of
    Ian> people are using your work, and that it will live on apart
    Ian> from you.

Do you think that Bill Gates doesn't share that heady feeling?
(Admittedly, I suppose that that heady feeling, in distorted form, is
responsible for his obvious megalomania.)  Proprietary producers also
respond to the notion that thousands, millions, tens or hundreds of
millions use their work.  Some people do care about the value of the
billions of so-called lusers who will never write a line of code, and
therefore will never derive a work from someone else's.

And yes, _both_ of those incentives have been in my informal model for
nearly two years now, and will be incorporated in the formal one when
it gets written down.

University of Tsukuba                Tennodai 1-1-1 Tsukuba 305-8573 JAPAN
Institute of Policy and Planning Sciences       Tel/fax: +81 (298) 53-5091
What are those two straight lines for?  "Free software rules."