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From: mc...@cme.nist.gov (Michael Mclay)
Newsgroups: gnu.misc.discuss
Subject: Is FSF software really free.
Message-ID: <MCLAY.91Jan27011004@thud.cme.nist.gov>
Date: 27 Jan 91 06:10:04 GMT
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In-reply-to: don@zardoz.coral.com's message of 16 Jan 91 13:00:45 GMT

In article <910116130...@zardoz.coral.com> d...@zardoz.coral.com 
(Don Dewar) writes:

RMS,

Please reread the following excerpt of a posting concerning your
attempts to impose morality on others.  While I like many of the
FSF products, I absolutely disagree with your distribution tactics.

   So, what is happening here is that because someone is trying to impose
   their concept of free software on us, we may have to avoid using some
   GNU software when we release our product.  I think that FSF might
   learn something here from a very serious mistake that our government
   repeatedly makes: You can't legislate morality -- education is the
   only way to help people make the right moral decision.  The more you
   try to force your convictions on someone else, the more they may
   resist.  If you show them the right way through your own example, you
   are more likely to get the results you want.

If you truely want your software to be free, then distribute it as X
Windows and InterViews are distributed.  We use the public domain
version of both these tools, however, organizations that aren't in the
software business are able to buy, for less than it would cost them to
do the work themselves, a compiled and tested version of X Windows
from DEC, Sun, IBM, HP and others.  The programers who worked on X
Windows or InterViews cannot feel cheated when one of these companies
sells a copy of X Windows for $500 or $1000.  They wanted their code
to be used by other and put it in the public domain so that this would
be possible.  In order for some of the public to be able to use it,
however, more work was required.  This extra work must be paid for and
that is why the $500 or $1000 was spent.  There was no coersion
involved.  See Adam Smith for details on how this works:-)

Why not have the FSF copyright read as follows:

  I don't believe software should cost money.  You can use what I wrote
  for free.  If you agree with me you will do the same.  If you don't I
  wish you well.  Please be kind enough to tell others that I wrote this
  code or parts of the code.

  Thank you 

  RMS

Anything more than that is going to restrict the distribution of the
FSF software.  If this were not true then at least one of the above
mentioned companies would have started distributing FSF software along
with their own.  

The Soviets have finally admitted that Marx was wrong and Adam Smith
was right.  FSF should do the same.  It's ok to give the source code
away or sell the tapes for $195 each, just don't require that everyone
do the same.  That only causes those who need additional support to
not be able to use the products at all.

--
Michael J. McLay
National Institute of Standards and Technology
Bld 220 Rm A355 (office), Bld 220 Rm A150 (mail)
Gaithersburg, Maryland 20899, (301)975-4099

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From: rbr...@spdcc.COM (Rich Braun)
Newsgroups: gnu.misc.discuss
Subject: Re: Is FSF software really free.
Message-ID: <6228@spdcc.SPDCC.COM>
Date: 27 Jan 91 22:08:46 GMT
Organization: Kronos Inc., Waltham, Mass.
Lines: 33

Perhaps the motivation for the FSF's current copyleft policy isn't made clear
enough in the various distribution files.

RMS was a housemate of mine 8-9 years ago, back when Emacs was written in
Teco for ITS and the DEC-20 and it was just getting ported to other systems
(Gosling, et al, under Unix).  He was incredibly frustrated at how people
kept ripping off his software and selling it for massive royalties.  Though
the name "emacs" became a household word, it was no longer free on many
systems and it no longer represented RMS' views.

By the time the FSF was created, this lesson had already been well-learned:
the point is to create a massive set of building-block tools so the state
of the art will be advanced by people building on top of them, rather than
kept in one place by people constantly trying to make a buck building
basic systems.

In order to keep the software in the public domain and available on the
largest variety of systems, the copyleft was invented.  And it's become a
very sensible way of motivating people to port the software to new systems
without trying to make a fast buck off of it.

The way to make money on Gnu software is to provide guaranteed support so
companies can use it easily, reliably, and across a variety of platforms.
Not to take a copy of it, port it to some new system, and sell it.

Another side benefit of the copyleft has been to create a series of de facto
standards which are superior to those put forth by some other organizations.
This is thanks to the reduced time-to-market created by the Gnu distribution
media:  state-of-the-art advances appear much more rapidly in Gnu software
than, for example, in that of Lotus, Apple, OSF, or Microsoft, to name a few
names.

-rich

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From: mc...@cme.nist.gov (Michael Mclay)
Newsgroups: gnu.g++.help
Subject: Re: Is FSF software really free.
Message-ID: <MCLAY.91Jan28103612@thud.cme.nist.gov>
Date: 28 Jan 91 15:36:12 GMT
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	<MCLAY.91Jan27011004@thud.cme.nist.gov>
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In-reply-to: mclay@cme.nist.gov's message of 27 Jan 91 06:10:04 GMT

In article <MCLAY.91J...@thud.cme.nist.gov> mc...@cme.nist.gov 
(Michael Mclay) writes:

Someone suggested that I clarify whether the opinions expressed in my
previous postings were my own or that of my employer.  They are my
own.  I am not aware of any official NIST policy concerning FSF.

I would like to end any further debate on this thread.  I should have
just sent my opinion on the libraries licensing policy to the
FSF legal group instead.  I regret having wasted my time and yours.

--
Michael J. McLay
National Institute of Standards and Technology
Bld 220 Rm A355 (office), Bld 220 Rm A150 (mail)
Gaithersburg, Maryland 20899, (301)975-4099

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From: car...@cs.uiuc.edu (Alan M. Carroll)
Newsgroups: gnu.misc.discuss,alt.flame
Subject: Re: Is FSF software really free.
Message-ID: <1991Jan27.182209.21983@ux1.cso.uiuc.edu>
Date: 27 Jan 91 18:22:09 GMT
References: <1918@fornax.UUCP> <9101161300.AA22325@zardoz.coral.com> 
<MCLAY.91Jan27011004@thud.cme.nist.gov>
Sender: ne...@ux1.cso.uiuc.edu (News)
Reply-To: car...@cs.uiuc.edu (Alan M. Carroll)
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Xref: gmdzi gnu.misc.discuss:2037 alt.flame:13711

In article <MCLAY.91J...@thud.cme.nist.gov>, mc...@cme.nist.gov 
(Michael Mclay) writes:
> In article <910116130...@zardoz.coral.com> d...@zardoz.coral.com 
> (Don Dewar) writes:
> 
> RMS,
> 
> Please reread the following excerpt of a posting concerning your
> attempts to impose morality on others.  While I like many of the
> FSF products, I absolutely disagree with your distribution tactics.
> [ ... ]
> Anything more than that is going to restrict the distribution of the
> FSF software.

[ Flame warning ]
I think you're confused. First off, the FSF and RMS don't owe
_anything_ to _anyone_. They have no obligation whatsoever to provide
any software to anyone for any reason. If the FSF is willing to accept
reduced distribution in order to enforce certain rules on use of their
code, that's their decision to make. I personally disagree with many
of the stated tenets of the FSF, but I absolutely support the FSF's
right to do whatever they want with their code. Write it yourself if
you don't like it, but don't whine because you can't freely distribute
someone else's code.

-- 
Alan M. Carroll                "I hate shopping with the reality-impaired"
Epoch Development Team                 - Susan
CS Grad / U of Ill @ Urbana    ...{ucbvax,pur-ee,convex}!cs.uiuc.edu!carroll

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From: lib...@ncsa.uiuc.edu (Daniel LaLiberte)
Newsgroups: gnu.misc.discuss,alt.flame
Subject: Re: Is FSF software really free.
Message-ID: <LIBERTE.91Jan28124912@babbage.ncsa.uiuc.edu>
Date: 28 Jan 91 17:49:12 GMT
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In-Reply-To: carroll@cs.uiuc.edu's message of Sun, 27 Jan 1991 18:22:09 GMT

Alan and others reply to Michael Mclay's article with
misunderstandings of their own.  Michael is not saying that FSF owes
anyone anything.  And he is not whining that he, personally, does not
like the "price" of FSF software.

He is merely arguing, correctly, that many people won't use FSF
software because of its restrictions.  And he suggests FSF free its
software from these restrictions.

I happen to disagree with him (about whether FSF should liberalize),
like those who criticize him but, folks, cool you jets and get the
facts right.

Dan LaLiberte
National Center for Supercomputing Applications
lib...@ncsa.uiuc.edu

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From: rbr...@spdcc.COM (Rich Braun)
Newsgroups: gnu.misc.discuss
Subject: Re: Is FSF software really free.
Message-ID: <6249@spdcc.SPDCC.COM>
Date: 29 Jan 91 01:43:03 GMT
Organization: Kronos Inc., Waltham, Mass.
Lines: 20

All this flamage about the copyleft reminds me of a rather ordinary piece
of American thinking:  the proprietary right to own property (as in real
estate), and to charge what the market will bear.  And, in fact, to keep
the government's nose out of it.  For two generations now, at least,
the common wisdom has been that you can't lose buying real estate; it
always goes up, never down.

This anarchic way of thinking has led to economic disaster for the New
England region, at the very least, and perhaps for the rest of the nation.

For those who think the FSF is some sort of a batch of left-wing anarchists
attempting to pull the supports out from under the software industry, I
submit that the real goal is to turn this kind of proprietary perspective
on its ear, and prevent the kind of disaster the real estate industry is
now experiencing.

If you give people the freedom to be greedy, greedy they will be.  And
that is the road to economic ruin and pain for everyone.

-rich

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From: wi...@rwwa.COM (Robert W. Withrow)
Newsgroups: gnu.misc.discuss
Subject: Re: Is FSF software really free.
Message-ID: <1991Jan30.161558.10263@rwwa.COM>
Date: 30 Jan 91 16:15:58 GMT
References: <6249@spdcc.SPDCC.COM>
Organization: R.W. Withrow Associates
Lines: 11

>If you give people the freedom to be greedy, greedy they will be.  And
>that is the road to economic ruin and pain for everyone.

If you *deny* people the freedom to be greedy, greedy they will be.
And that is the road to economic ruin and pain for everyone.  (Witness
the USSR).

-- 
---
 Robert Withrow, R.W. Withrow Associates, Swampscott MA 01907 USA
 Tel: +1 617 598 4480, Fax: +1 617 598 4430, Uucp: wi...@rwwa.COM

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From: youn...@V6550C.NRL.NAVY.MIL (Eric Youngdale)
Newsgroups: gnu.misc.discuss
Subject: RE: Is FSF software really free.
Message-ID: <009437b8.d2ba1e20.3685@v6550c.nrl.navy.mil>
Date: 30 Jan 91 17:45:48 GMT
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 spooky!wi...@uunet.uu.net (Robert W. Withrow) writes:
>>If you give people the freedom to be greedy, greedy they will be.  And
>>that is the road to economic ruin and pain for everyone.
>
>If you *deny* people the freedom to be greedy, greedy they will be.
>And that is the road to economic ruin and pain for everyone.  (Witness
>the USSR).

	This argument does not wash.  People are not being denied the freedom
to be greedy at all.  They are being denied the right to be greedy if they want
to incorporate FSF software into the systems that they package.  If you think
about it this is only fair.  If FSF does all of the hard work of getting
something to work and supporting it, why should a vendor be able to "modify" it
and sell it as proprietary (i.e. distribute only binaries).  If someone wants
to distribute only the binaries to a program, then fine, let them write the
whole thing from scratch.  No one is forcing them to use GNU software.


------------------------------------------------------------------
Eric Youngdale          INTERNET:  YOUN...@V6550C.NRL.NAVY.MIL
Naval Research Lab     	    SPAN:  11.13 (or 11277::)
Washington, DC	       FLAME-NET:  NLA0:

	"You cannot spell football without the foo."

	Disclaimer:  The opinions expressed herein are my own and not
necessarily those of my employer.

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