Subject: Re: Open letter to those who believe in a right to free software
From: "Stephen J. Turnbull" <>
Date: Tue, 2 Nov 1999 16:05:14 +0900 (JST)

>>>>> "rms" == Richard Stallman <> writes:

    You do know very well that I honestly believe that I can produce
    exactly the model I have discussed (you mentioned that), and you have
    had the methods I plan to use described to you.

    rms> I believe you honestly disagree with me; I think you should
    rms> give me the same respect.  Statements like "RMS knows better"
    rms> deny me this respect.

OK, I apologize for any implication that you don't honestly disagree
with me.  I believe your disagreement is honest.

It remains true that you know that I disgree with you, and that you
know you have failed to prove your point (and not just to me!).  It
depends partly on fundamental differences of values, and partly on
your misconception of to what my analysis would apply and how it would
be conducted.

Furthermore, your misunderstanding of what economic analysis is, how
it is conducted, has been apparent throughout.  Don't you think that
in that circumstance you should be a bit more circumspect in denying
the possibility of an economic model of the free software phenomenon?

You still owe me an apology because you have not tried to understand
what I propose to do, what _my_ purposes are, and you persist in
making claims about my statements that a careful reading of everything
I have written to you in public and private (something you always
insist on in reverse) would show are insupportable.  And on the basis
of at best incomplete, and as reflected in your public statements
incorrect, understanding of what economics is.

    But it is pure hubris on the layman's part to say it can't be done
    before seeing the model,

    rms> I have stated relevant factors whose very relevance you
    rms> declined to recognize.  If you don't recognize them, your
    rms> model won't recognize them either--I don't have to read it to
    rms> know that.

You claim relevance.  You have not demonstrated relevance, which is
required for a claim of impossibility.  You could have said, "this
kind of model cannot possibly be accurate if X, Y, and Z are relevant,
because it doesn't incorporate them."  But you simply denied any
possibility, without any such caveat.

And it is incumbent on you to write with such precision, because you
have made blanket denials of the applicability of economic analysis in
the past.  Why shouldn't I interpret this statement as just one more?

Also, I'm not sure to what factors you are referring however, except
for the very individualistic issue of freedom from domination by
proprietary software.  But this is a personal value; not universally
held in society.  That being so, treating it statistically is quite
reasonable.  What others do you have in mind?

    rms> But even if you did recognize them, I am sure you could not
    rms> model them, because modelling them would mean modelling the
    rms> thought processes of a person, and of a whole society.  If

This is false.  A model is a tool; there are no requirements on a
model that do not derive from the modeler's purpose.  Since you don't
understand mine, and claim to feel no need to understand the model for
the light it could shed on my purposes, you have no ground whatsoever
for such claims.

    rms> you could do that, it would be the greatest intellectual
    rms> achievement of all time, and I think we would be finding out
    rms> about it elsewhere.

You're right.  So what?  Do you have a purpose in those words?

	    and clearly FUD for you to defend that hubris
    by asking for an apology.

    rms> I asked for an apology for a condescending personal
    rms> statement.  I believe I am entitled to that, regardless of
    rms> the arguments on either side of the issue.

The point of my statement was that as far as I can tell, you have not
given my words the respect that you always demand for your own:  that
they be read and understood as the author wrote and meant them.  No
condescension was intended.

I apologize for the appearance of condescension, which a reasonable
person could have taken as intended.

	rms> When you make an outrageous statement, people do not have an
	rms> obligation to read all the details before they say so.

    "Outrageous"?  More FUD.

    rms> I've stated the reasons why that claim is outrageous in other
    rms> messages.

This claim is itself outrageous.  It depends on your misreading of the
purpose and scope of my proposed analysis.  A misreading which has
persisted despite much effort to correct it on my part and others'.

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."