Subject: Re: The merger: a user's perspective
From: "Stephen J. Turnbull" <>
Date: Fri, 19 Nov 1999 11:22:12 +0900 (JST)

>>>>> "Bradley" == Bradley M Kuhn <> writes:

    Bradley> I think it's great that there's a *tiny* division of IBM
    Bradley> supporting free software.  I thank them for their
    Bradley> contribution.  But, when the overwhelming force of the
    Bradley> company is for proprietary software, I don't consider
    Bradley> them as dedicated the the community.

Now it's binary, dedicated or not.  I was responding to your statement 
about "partially".

Please remember, also, that if there's anything to the software patent
panic, it will affect companies like IBM nearly as much as free
software firms, although in different ways.  We can certainly hope to
free ride on the legal technology they use to deal with it much as RMS
free rode on their legal technology to put the power of the state
behind free software in the GNU GPL.  They don't need to be dedicated
to free software to help support it!

    Bradley> It's like a large paper company who is destroying old
    Bradley> growth forests on a daily basis giving $10,000 to
    Bradley> Greenpeace.  Sure, it's a great contribution, but when
    Bradley> their day-to-day work is in completely opposition to what
    Bradley> Greenpeace does, are they really supporting Greenpeace?

I disagree with your analogy.[1]  It is completely different.  The free
software that already has been contributed to the community is
indestructible.  Furthermore, it is sufficient to our needs.  "Verily,
my cup overflows."

The problem I have with Stallmanism is that RMS opposes all proprietary
rights in software and prefers copyleft over all other free licenses
because free software is a "fragile flower," perpetually in danger of
extinction.  Yet in fact, except for a few true communists (ie, those
who object to all private property, not just intellectual property,
which definitely does not include RMS and probably does not include
you or Brian Bartholomew), free software advocates always base their
"moral obligation to share" precisely on the nonrivalry (and therefore
indestructibility) of free software.[2]

    Bradley> As for SUN, have they released any free software (the SUN
    Bradley> Community License isn't a free software license)?

[1]  It is also possible for a large paper company to destroy old
growth forests on a daily basis to be doing the right thing by many
social standards, although not by the standards of Greenpeace.
Discussion welcome, but not on FSB.  ;-)

[2]  This is also why I support the right to burn flags, although I
despise most of those who exercise it.  Ideas are indestructible: "The
flag that flies in my heart can never be burned."

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."