Tech Insider					     Technology and Trends

From santiago at mr-r.net  Thu Mar 24 17:49:47 2005
From: santiago at mr-r.net (Grant Robinson)
Date: Thu Mar 24 19:45:29 2005
Subject: [uug] Open Source vs. Closed Source software
Message-ID: <c61ea2d361ec75eb062f98c056b64edd@mr-r.net>

It's quite easy for people to sit and pontificate about open-sourcing 
things that they either a) do not own, or b) have a vested interest in. 
  Witness IBM and Sun in their on-going battle over open-sourcing Java.  
It totally benefits IBM, and Sun stands to lose control and face the 
possibility having multiple incompatible implementations of Java.

We have also recently discussed OS X and it's GUI.  It is one of the 
biggest advantages that Apple has right now over Windows and Linux.  If 
the GUI was open-sourced, what incentive would there be for people to 
buy/use OS X over Linux?  While many people have said "I don't want to 
use software that is not free(libre)" and have hinted or outright said 
that Apple should open-source more of their OS, I would say that there 
is no good reason for Apple to give up one of their biggest advantages.

I think that Open source software definitely has it's place.  But I 
also think that commercial software (be it libre or non-libre) has it's 
place as well.  If I had a killer app that had the potential to make me 
a lot of money, I have to say that I would probably sell it, and I 
wouldn't be handing out my source code to every Tom, Dick, and Harry.  
Everyone wants to have some measure of success, and be able to live 
life on their terms.  People may seek money for different reasons, but 
in the end each person needs to provide for their family, and if 
selling software and not opening the source code will feed my family, 
then that is exactly what I will do.

On the other hand, I am very grateful that open source software exists. 
  I use OSS every day of my life, and my computing experience would be 
much poorer if I did not have access to it.  There are definitely 
things that I think should be open, always and forever.  Core internet 
protocols are one example.  And there are many others.  It just isn't 
as clear cut an issue as RMS and many other people make it out to be.

I guess what I am saying is that it all comes down to freedom (libre).  
In our society, we have the freedom to write code and distribute it in 
whatever manner we see fit.  I personally happen to think that blending 
open and closed source software is both acceptable and beneficial.  I 
respect other's right to disagree with that statement.  I think we 
should also be careful in throwing around statements like "all closed 
source software is bad" and making judgments about what companies 
should do with the software they have written.  Become the CEO of Apple 
or Sun or IBM, realize you have millions of shareholders and employees 
who are weighing your decisions, and who are ready to send your stock 
and market share plummeting if they disagree, and it becomes a much 
more complicated issue than "open source is good, and closed source is 
bad".  I know RMS would not agree with me.  Do you?

Grant Robinson

From uug.chris.alvarez at gmail.com  Thu Mar 24 21:35:09 2005
From: uug.chris.alvarez at gmail.com (Chris Alvarez)
Date: Thu Mar 24 21:35:20 2005
Subject: [uug] Open Source vs. Closed Source software
In-Reply-To: <c61ea2d361ec75eb062f98c056b64edd@mr-r.net>
References: <c61ea2d361ec75eb062f98c056b64edd@mr-r.net>
Message-ID: <d48d46c405032420356b8165fd@mail.gmail.com>

I agree with most of what you said. I also think that having OSS is a
blessing and that those who develop it are doing it truly out of
virtue. I am an advocate of OSS and I am currently developing some
cool graphics applications that I also intend to release as OSS.

The one thing I have come to dislike about the OSS community are the
Free Software zealots. I have been researching a bit on the topic and
I wrote an essay that I think I will publish in the future.

By Free Software zealots, I do not refer to all OSS advocates. I refer
to a fraction of them that go a step further and want to impose their
ideas on the rest of the people. They are against what Richard
Stallman calls "non-free software". He defines it as applications that
are for sale but that are not the result of contracting for
custom-made software. In other words, if I think of a cool idea that I
think it would be benefitial and would sell, and I implement it,
license it (so people don't use it without paying me for it, which is
one of the ultimate purposes I made it for) and sell it. According to
the extreme views of Richard Stallman, I am anti-social, I should not
be a programmer and I should look for another job.

While I love, develop and promote OSS, I do not like the whole concept
of if-you-put-a-copyright-on-it-you-are-taking-away-my-freedom. I
don't like it when they make it look like it is immoral to sell
non-custom software. I think that enforcing ideas like those of
Richard Stallman actually take away my economic freedom to start
enterprenuerships in the areas of software development.

Thanks Grant for opening this topic. I know of many in the UUG list
who more or less agree with me but sometimes they are afraid to let
their opinions known because of possible criticism. It is not true
that real programmers and hairy men only use/develop OSS. By this I
don't mean to offend anyone but rather dispel a mentality that I think
is more restricting and coercive that the innocent "free as in beer"
slogans.

Chris Alvarez

From jason at lunkwill.org  Thu Mar 24 23:09:27 2005
From: jason at lunkwill.org (Jason Holt)
Date: Thu Mar 24 23:09:36 2005
Subject: [uug] Open Source vs. Closed Source software
In-Reply-To: <c61ea2d361ec75eb062f98c056b64edd@mr-r.net>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.44.0503250501350.32341-100000@potato.zayda.com>


On Thu, 24 Mar 2005, Grant Robinson wrote:
> It's quite easy for people to sit and pontificate about open-sourcing 
> things that they either a) do not own, or b) have a vested interest in. 
>   Witness IBM and Sun in their on-going battle over open-sourcing Java.  
> It totally benefits IBM, and Sun stands to lose control and face the 
> possibility having multiple incompatible implementations of Java.

Ya, except that IBM's currently spending many millions on Free projects of
their own, and Sun's doing lots of antisocial things.  So maybe you picked a
bad example.

People like to talk about having to put food on the table.  I wonder if it
isn't something like the sunday school lessons about giving to the poor --
half a dozen people will almost immediately chime in on why they /don't/ give
handouts to the beggars outside the temple.  My theory is /not/ that they're
greedy, but on the contrary that many of them feel overwhelmed by such a huge
obligation -- to feed the poor throughout the world.  Why just the change in
my pocket?  Why don't I give them my whole life savings?  What about all the
other beggars?  And even if I did make such a sacrifice, what would become of
it?  What if they spent it on a booze binge and died?  What about my own
family's needs?

So rather than compromising the principle (which seems like a dirty word), or
taking explicit risks on some beggars, it's nice and clean to pick a sum and
donate it to the fast offering each month.  Problem solved, plus we have
something to have spirited debates about in sunday school.

So sure, we can rehash the debate in high moral terms, talking about the right
to profit and how fascists like RMS keep trying to *force* us to give
everything away, unlike the benevolent folks at Microsoft who *respect* your
need to make a living.  (Ahem, had to get my digs in early).

But if we're going to do that, at least let me break the false dichotomy that
Freedom is incompatible with having enough food to eat.  I've worked the last
5 years writing Free software.  Many of my friends make a living in Free
software.  It's not even that hard to do.  And if anybody on the list is ever
in danger of going hungry because they released software freely that they
could have bought bread with, they can come to my house and I'll feed them.  
Seriously.

Incidentally, I also tried out actually giving to beggars, and it was fairly
amusing.  Once I offered the dinner I had just bought (and I *was* hungry) to
a man who had a "hungry - please help" sign, and he just turned away.  
Another time the couple I met were homeless as a lifestyle (and very honest
about it, once we got talking).  So while I'm sure there are people who would
take your life savings and die of booze from it, the reality is probably that
we could do a lot of good for the poor without much effort if we actually
tried.  Likewise, there probably are companies that would fold or people who
would fail to make millions by making their software Free, but the world
really wouldn't come crashing down either way.  That is, it's very unlikely
that you'll pass me lying in the gutter someday bemoaning how my choice to use
and write only Free software led to my untimely demise.

I also have learned about the Myth of the Lone Inventor.  I got all excited in
graphics class when I came up with a new line drawing algorithm, and it really
is a fun feeling to think about making a million dollars off an instant of
revelation -- a life of luxury with no effort!  I could get a patent!  Then I
found out that, like most other neat ideas, it really wasn't all that
marketable, so most likely I would have been out the patent fees and effort.  

But the worse part was when I had an idea about how we could share edit lists
for movies, and be able to chop out anything we found objectionable on an
individual basis -- no need for CleanFlicks.  I was all ready to write it up
and release it Freely.  Then I found out about some patents which had been
taken out on a similar idea by a man nobody here has ever heard of, becuase he
never tried to market his ideas.  He just wanted to make money off the
patents.  Or maybe he didn't care about doing what we wanted to do.  Doesn't
really matter, because I couldn't implement my idea without his permission.

Then I did some work for my PhD dissertation, specifically to allow Trust
Negotiation to work without the patents my advisor had gotten.  I built it on
identity-based encryption, which had just come out the year before.  But then
again, they patented their construction almost exactly a year after publishing
it (the maximum allowed by law).  So now my work, developed when the idea was
still Free, now depends on someone else's patent.

Most recently, I'm trying to make my 3d scanner work with a rapid prototyping
rig that uses .stl files.  There's a conversion utility that'll take my .rib
files and convert them, but it's several hundred dollars, unlike all the other
software I was able to simply apt-get.  Not exactly worthwhile for a one-time
project.  (And not even *possible* if I were in a developing country)

So my point is that, yeah, it really does make a difference when software is
Free.  And I know from personal experience that it's perfectly possible to
make a living writing only Free software.  And you know what?  I might have
already "given away" a million dollar idea or two, but so did Linus and RMS
and a whole lot of other people, and I've gained more by their sacrifice than
I would by withholding mine, not to mention the cost my million dollars and
locked-up ideas would have incurred for others.  (For some value of
'sacrifice'; I hate 'what-if' games.)

						-J

From santiago at mr-r.net  Thu Mar 24 23:43:05 2005
From: santiago at mr-r.net (Grant Robinson)
Date: Thu Mar 24 23:43:14 2005
Subject: [uug] Open Source vs. Closed Source software
In-Reply-To: <Pine.LNX.4.44.0503250501350.32341-100000@potato.zayda.com>
References: <Pine.LNX.4.44.0503250501350.32341-100000@potato.zayda.com>
Message-ID: <d423741401747a03bc4fa9e5cfd46ed7@mr-r.net>


On Mar 24, 2005, at 11:09 PM, Jason Holt wrote:

>
> On Thu, 24 Mar 2005, Grant Robinson wrote:
>> It's quite easy for people to sit and pontificate about open-sourcing
>> things that they either a) do not own, or b) have a vested interest 
>> in.
>>   Witness IBM and Sun in their on-going battle over open-sourcing 
>> Java.
>> It totally benefits IBM, and Sun stands to lose control and face the
>> possibility having multiple incompatible implementations of Java.
>
> Ya, except that IBM's currently spending many millions on Free 
> projects of
> their own, and Sun's doing lots of antisocial things.  So maybe you 
> picked a
> bad example.

Regardless of who is doing what right now, when I comes to Java I have 
to agree with Sun.  The supporters of Java have more to lose by 
fragmentation of the Java language than they do by Sun keeping it's 
nominal control.

> <snip long rant about giving to the poor>
>

I wasn't saying we shouldn't give to the poor.

> So sure, we can rehash the debate in high moral terms, talking about 
> the right
> to profit and how fascists like RMS keep trying to *force* us to give
> everything away, unlike the benevolent folks at Microsoft who 
> *respect* your
> need to make a living.  (Ahem, had to get my digs in early).

I am also not siding with Microsoft.  I do not like Microsoft products, 
but that is beside the point.

>
> But if we're going to do that, at least let me break the false 
> dichotomy that
> Freedom is incompatible with having enough food to eat.  I've worked 
> the last
> 5 years writing Free software.  Many of my friends make a living in 
> Free
> software.  It's not even that hard to do.  And if anybody on the list 
> is ever
> in danger of going hungry because they released software freely that 
> they
> could have bought bread with, they can come to my house and I'll feed 
> them.
> Seriously.

Nor did I say that it is not possible to feed a family by writing Open 
Source Software.  It is certainly possible.  However, for every David 
Hyatt (the guy who works on KHTML/Safari and paid by Apple) and KDE 
developer employed by Mandrakesoft or some other OSS friendly company, 
there are 20 or 30 or more other developers who _DON"T_ get paid to 
write OSS but do for fun/fulfillment/scratch the itch.  Let's face the 
facts.  The percentage of people who are getting _PAID_ to write OSS is 
very small compared to the percentage of people who are paid to write 
either closed-source commercial software or custom in-house software 
that is not Open Source.  However, if I am missing some sort of easy 
way to make money by writing Free Software, please enlighten me.

<snip more stuff about giving to beggars>

I probably shouldn't have snipped the whole thing, because I also 
wanted to point out that there are some very influential companies 
that, perhaps the world wouldn't have come crashing down, but our 
computing world would be considerably less well off.  And many of them 
are either proprietary hardware or software vendors whose advances in 
computing have advanced the state of our industry.

<snip stuff about patents>
Now software patents and the ability to patent an idea are things that 
I have more of an issue with.  I think everyone knows that the US 
Patent system is broken, especially in regards to Software.  I would 
not be against short-term (3-5 year) patents for specific 
implementations of an idea in software, but after that they should go 
to the public and be royalty-free for use.  They would have to allow 
other implementations of the same idea that are not exact or nearly 
exact duplicates.  I.E. you could patent your particular music player, 
but you could not patent music players in general.


>
> So my point is that, yeah, it really does make a difference when 
> software is
> Free.  And I know from personal experience that it's perfectly 
> possible to
> make a living writing only Free software.  And you know what?  I might 
> have
> already "given away" a million dollar idea or two, but so did Linus 
> and RMS
> and a whole lot of other people, and I've gained more by their 
> sacrifice than
> I would by withholding mine, not to mention the cost my million 
> dollars and
> locked-up ideas would have incurred for others.  (For some value of
> 'sacrifice'; I hate 'what-if' games.)

I was not saying that it doesn't make a difference.  Believe me, Jason, 
I do like libre software, use libre software, and when I have time to, 
I also like to contribute to Open Source projects or work on my own.  
But I don't go as far as to "look down" on or think ill of those who 
choose to release their software under a non-libre license.  And that 
was the point I was trying to make.  Both types of software exists, and 
until there is some sort of major economic revolution, both types of 
software are necessary for a healthy and technically advanced economy.

Grant

From uug at halcrow.us  Fri Mar 25 07:34:37 2005
From: uug at halcrow.us (Michael Halcrow)
Date: Fri Mar 25 07:36:12 2005
Subject: [uug] Open Source vs. Closed Source software
In-Reply-To: <d48d46c405032420356b8165fd@mail.gmail.com>
References: <c61ea2d361ec75eb062f98c056b64edd@mr-r.net>
	<d48d46c405032420356b8165fd@mail.gmail.com>
Message-ID: <20050325143436.GA9001@halcrow.us>

On Thu, Mar 24, 2005 at 09:35:09PM -0700, Chris Alvarez wrote:
> While I love, develop and promote OSS, I do not like the whole
> concept of
> if-you-put-a-copyright-on-it-you-are-taking-away-my-freedom. I don't
> like it when they make it look like it is immoral to sell non-custom
> software. I think that enforcing ideas like those of Richard
> Stallman actually take away my economic freedom to start
> enterprenuerships in the areas of software development.

Let's be clear on exactly what you are doing when you put a (C) on
something you derive (I subscribe to Hume's philosophy whereby
everything you are is defined by cultural influences in your
environment as it interacts with your brain, and hence everything you
think and everything you create is a derivative work).  You are, in
essence, saying, ``I am appealing to the government to hold a gun to
your head and force you to behave a certain way with respect to this
derivative work that I have instantiated in this or that form.''  I
don't care if you are Microsoft or RMS; this is what you are doing.
You are dictating terms and conditions whereby someone may behave with
respect to your derivative work, on penalty of financial ruin or
prison time as imposed upon you by the government.

To copy is a fundamental right inherited by all men.  We are all
copying machines.  Our very physical forms are the result of copying
genetic sequences.  Our language is copied from our parents.  Our
religion is copied in a like manner.  Everything we think is
interpreted in the context of a culture that was copied into our
brains.  To place restrictions or conditions on this act of copying is
to control that primitive component of our very existence.

I'm going to withhold my own opinions about the morality of placing
these controls on copying bahavior, but I just felt it important to
put this part of the debate into perspective.

Mike

.___________________________________________________________________.
"The image of life is, 'Something that eats itself.'"
 - Joseph Campbell

From uug.chris.alvarez at gmail.com  Fri Mar 25 09:24:31 2005
From: uug.chris.alvarez at gmail.com (Chris Alvarez)
Date: Fri Mar 25 09:24:40 2005
Subject: [uug] Open Source vs. Closed Source software
In-Reply-To: <20050325143436.GA9001@halcrow.us>
References: <c61ea2d361ec75eb062f98c056b64edd@mr-r.net>
	<d48d46c405032420356b8165fd@mail.gmail.com>
	<20050325143436.GA9001@halcrow.us>
Message-ID: <d48d46c405032508242866c04d@mail.gmail.com>

> Let's be clear on exactly what you are doing when you put a (C) on
> something you derive (I subscribe to Hume's philosophy whereby
> everything you are is defined by cultural influences in your
> environment as it interacts with your brain, and hence everything you
> think and everything you create is a derivative work).  You are, in
> essence, saying, ``I am appealing to the government to hold a gun to
> your head and force you to behave a certain way with respect to this
> derivative work that I have instantiated in this or that form.''  I
> don't care if you are Microsoft or RMS; this is what you are doing.
> You are dictating terms and conditions whereby someone may behave with
> respect to your derivative work, on penalty of financial ruin or
> prison time as imposed upon you by the government.

Hmm, I guess we are. We do the same with respect to the rest of our
property ("I am appealing to the government to hold a gun to your head
and force you to behave in a certain way with respect to dealing with
my family, my house and my things"). Using words that make it look
horrible does not make your concepts more meaningful. That's what
anti-LDS propaganda is all about. Playing with rethorics is wrong.

> To copy is a fundamental right inherited by all men.  We are all
> copying machines.  Our very physical forms are the result of copying
> genetic sequences.  Our language is copied from our parents.  Our
> religion is copied in a like manner.  Everything we think is
> interpreted in the context of a culture that was copied into our
> brains.  To place restrictions or conditions on this act of copying is
> to control that primitive component of our very existence.

If copying is a fundamental right of man, then I should complain and
appeal to ACLU because the Honor Code doesn't let me copy during a
test. OK, sarcasm off.

No, copying is not a right. You aregiving as example things that were
never intended or designed to be copyrighted (language, parents' DNA,
etc). I am talking about products you make with the intent of earning
profit. If an artist makes a song and sells the mp3 in Napster or
whatever, and you go and make a zillion copies for everybody to
download, you are destroying what the artist was looking for. You
might say that the artist already has millions of dollars, but again,
it is not your place to put a cap on what he can earn. You might say
that you shouldn't be restricted to share that mp3 with your friends,
but by allowing you to do so you are hindering that artist's business
(yes, potential sales constitute the basis of commerce). Again, my
freedom is preserved because nobody forces me to buy his mp3 (or I can
if I want to) and the artist has his economic freedom to do his
business they way he likes it.That is the beauty of trade, both sides
get what they want because they value things defferently, and a swap
makes both parties happy. Restricting copyright in this case would
definetely make one of the parties unsatisfied and the trade
benefitial to one party only.

What I mean is that removing copyrights does not give the public more
freedom (it gives more options but the freedom to choose already
exists) and it does take away the right of enterpreneurs to do
business according to their wishes. Selling software is not immoral.
It is not more immoral than asmall town baker making fresh bread and
selling it to his fellow villagers. Putting a restrictions on the
copying of my work is not immoral as I am not forcing anybody to buy
it but rather I am ensuring that I receive just compensation according
to the demand for my product. Denying this is going against the
principles of free market and taking away some of the most precious
economic and commercial freedoms Americans enjoy (as opposed to some
made-up "right to copy").

Please note that my comments refer to copyrights (which I strongly
support) and not to patenting (I haven't entirely made up my mind
about it yet, but I tend to dislike it).

Also, I am in no way siding with M$ (although I like and use several
of their products). While a great advocate of free market (as much as
I am an advocate of OSS), I do not condone monopoly. Monopolies and
cartels go against the very foundations of free market. That is, free
market means that no one vendor or group of vendor can set the market
value of a product, but instead is left to the demand and the supply
to determine it. Monopoly and cartels give the power of choosing the
price to a few individuals and therefore it's against free market.

In other words, stop being religious about it. I know that despise of
copyright laws is a big trend in Free Software circles but that
doesn't make it logical or right. Consider the rights you would tamper
with by enforcing Richard Stallman's ideas. Ah! And don't forget,
Richard Stallman is an active, registered member of ACLU.


Chris Alvarez

From jason at lunkwill.org  Fri Mar 25 03:29:06 2005
From: jason at lunkwill.org (Jason Holt)
Date: Fri Mar 25 03:29:15 2005
Subject: [uug] Open Source vs. Closed Source software
In-Reply-To: < d423741401747a03bc4fa9e5cfd46ed7@mr-r.net>
Message-ID: < Pine.LNX.4.44.0503251001220.32341-100000@potato.zayda.com>


On Thu, 24 Mar 2005, Grant Robinson wrote:
> Nor did I say that it is not possible to feed a family by writing Open 
> Source Software.  It is certainly possible.  However, for every David 
> Hyatt (the guy who works on KHTML/Safari and paid by Apple) and KDE 
> developer employed by Mandrakesoft or some other OSS friendly company, 
> there are 20 or 30 or more other developers who _DON"T_ get paid to 
> write OSS but do for fun/fulfillment/scratch the itch.  Let's face the 
> facts.  The percentage of people who are getting _PAID_ to write OSS is 
> very small compared to the percentage of people who are paid to write 
> either closed-source commercial software or custom in-house software 
> that is not Open Source.  However, if I am missing some sort of easy 
> way to make money by writing Free Software, please enlighten me.

I don't have *easy* ways to make money in Free software, but then I rather
suspect you don't have any *easy* ways to make it in non-Free software either
:).

I have no idea what the closed/open breakdown is in terms of number of jobs.  
RMS likes to point out that tons of jobs deal with non-distributed software
(in house only code, etc.), which doesn't really apply to the Free software
debate at all.

But whatever the breakdown is, you don't need 90% of the jobs out there.  You
only need one, and enough other openings that you can switch jobs when you
feel like it.  It's about competition, not proportion.

Of course, the question to *really* test your faith in Free software is
whether you'd work in non-Free software if there *weren't* any jobs.  RMS
believes Freedom is important enough that he'd support himself by other means.  
I don't know many Mormons who'd follow that lead, but they almost all seem to
be particular about ministers not being paid.  So some folks think (in both
software and religion) that certain kinds of information should spread purely,
without alterior motives.  Otherwise, the distributors who don't believe the
principles get greedy and start bending it so it doesn't just help the
recipients, it forces the recipients to help the distributors.  And both types
of people have a notion of a pretty neat world in which the vast majority of
people live by that kind of information.


> I probably shouldn't have snipped the whole thing, because I also 
> wanted to point out that there are some very influential companies 
> that, perhaps the world wouldn't have come crashing down, but our 
> computing world would be considerably less well off.  And many of them 
> are either proprietary hardware or software vendors whose advances in 
> computing have advanced the state of our industry.

That's that what-if game I don't like.  A few years ago people would have said
that about any kind of major adoption; now IBM, Novell and others seem to
think it actually enhances their bottom line.


> But I don't go as far as to "look down" on or think ill of those who 
> choose to release their software under a non-libre license.  And that 
> was the point I was trying to make.  Both types of software exists, and 
> until there is some sort of major economic revolution, both types of 
> software are necessary for a healthy and technically advanced economy.

I suppose we could replace "software" with "religion" (or just about anything
else) here, and it would again boil down to the classic debate between someone
on one side of an issue and someone else in the middle.  I'm in the middle on
enough other things that I'd be a huge hypocrite to criticize you for it.  
But as somebody who does believe pretty strongly in Freedom of information, I
always like to point out that it is at least a viable worldview, whether or
not it's the one you'd pick.

						-J

From amcnabb at mcnabbs.org  Fri Mar 25 09:55:12 2005
From: amcnabb at mcnabbs.org (Andrew McNabb)
Date: Fri Mar 25 09:55:24 2005
Subject: [uug] Open Source vs. Closed Source software
In-Reply-To: <d48d46c405032508242866c04d@mail.gmail.com>
References: <c61ea2d361ec75eb062f98c056b64edd@mr-r.net>
	<d48d46c405032420356b8165fd@mail.gmail.com>
	<20050325143436.GA9001@halcrow.us>
	<d48d46c405032508242866c04d@mail.gmail.com>
Message-ID: <20050325165512.GA16351@mcnabbs.org>

On Fri, Mar 25, 2005 at 09:24:31AM -0700, Chris Alvarez wrote:
> 
> In other words, stop being religious about it. I know that despise of
> copyright laws is a big trend in Free Software circles but that
> doesn't make it logical or right. Consider the rights you would tamper
> with by enforcing Richard Stallman's ideas. Ah! And don't forget,
> Richard Stallman is an active, registered member of ACLU.

I agree with most of your email, but I take issue with this closing
paragraph.  You're way off here.  Free Software is not about enforcing
ideas, whether Richard Stallman's or anyone else's.  I agree that
Stallman has a more extreme vision than I do, but I respect him for
that.  The FSF does not steal other people's copyrighted material as you
seem to imply.  It says, in a nutshell: the world will be better if we
do things such-and-such a way, and we'll push to make that vision
happen.  They persuade people to think openly--they don't steal anything
or destroy anyone's rights.  If you or anyone else dislikes the ideals
of the FSF, no one is forcing you to release your software under the
GPL.  You can disagree with the FSF, but when you say things like,
"Consider the rights you would tamper with by enforcing Richard
Stallman's ideas," you make it really hard for us to take you seriously.

Also, please respond to the following question.  What on earth are you
trying to say with this ACLU garbage?  I don't like everything the ACLU
does, but I don't think it's fair to assume that its members are serial
killers.  What does your bizarre variety of namecalling have to do with
anything?

-- 
Andrew McNabb
http://www.mcnabbs.org/andrew/
PGP Fingerprint: 8A17 B57C 6879 1863 DE55  8012 AB4D 6098 8826 6868

From uug at halcrow.us  Fri Mar 25 10:22:04 2005
From: uug at halcrow.us (Michael Halcrow)
Date: Fri Mar 25 10:24:06 2005
Subject: [uug] Open Source vs. Closed Source software
In-Reply-To: <d48d46c405032508242866c04d@mail.gmail.com>
References: <c61ea2d361ec75eb062f98c056b64edd@mr-r.net>
	<d48d46c405032420356b8165fd@mail.gmail.com>
	<20050325143436.GA9001@halcrow.us>
	<d48d46c405032508242866c04d@mail.gmail.com>
Message-ID: <20050325172204.GA16887@halcrow.us>

On Fri, Mar 25, 2005 at 09:24:31AM -0700, Chris Alvarez wrote:
> > Let's be clear on exactly what you are doing when you put a (C) on
> > something you derive (I subscribe to Hume's philosophy whereby
> > everything you are is defined by cultural influences in your
> > environment as it interacts with your brain, and hence everything
> > you think and everything you create is a derivative work).  You
> > are, in essence, saying, ``I am appealing to the government to
> > hold a gun to your head and force you to behave a certain way with
> > respect to this derivative work that I have instantiated in this
> > or that form.''  I don't care if you are Microsoft or RMS; this is
> > what you are doing.  You are dictating terms and conditions
> > whereby someone may behave with respect to your derivative work,
> > on penalty of financial ruin or prison time as imposed upon you by
> > the government.
> 
> Hmm, I guess we are. We do the same with respect to the rest of our
> property ("I am appealing to the government to hold a gun to your
> head and force you to behave in a certain way with respect to
> dealing with my family, my house and my things"). Using words that
> make it look horrible does not make your concepts more
> meaningful. That's what anti-LDS propaganda is all about. Playing
> with rethorics is wrong.

Guilty as charged.  ``Hold a gun to your head'' is a loaded statement
(no pun intended).  It describes how I personally feel about the
effect of the system, and it distracts from the point I was making
that copyright is all about the restriction of behavior by the
government, and by claiming copyright over something, you are
appealing to the government to force other people to behave in a
certain way with respect to that derivative work.

> > To copy is a fundamental right inherited by all men.  We are all
> > copying machines.  Our very physical forms are the result of copying
> > genetic sequences.  Our language is copied from our parents.  Our
> > religion is copied in a like manner.  Everything we think is
> > interpreted in the context of a culture that was copied into our
> > brains.  To place restrictions or conditions on this act of copying is
> > to control that primitive component of our very existence.
> 
> If copying is a fundamental right of man, then I should complain and
> appeal to ACLU because the Honor Code doesn't let me copy during a
> test. OK, sarcasm off.

I didn't say that this right should ever be traded for some greater
good.  I just said it was a fundamental right.

> No, copying is not a right. You aregiving as example things that
> were never intended or designed to be copyrighted (language,
> parents' DNA, etc). I am talking about products you make with the
> intent of earning profit.

I could give a rat's ass what your intention is.  I am telling you
that I have a right to copy.  It is a moral belief, and it is not
really subject to this sort of debate.

> If an artist makes a song and sells the mp3 in Napster or whatever,
> and you go and make a zillion copies for everybody to download, you
> are destroying what the artist was looking for.

Are you competing with anyone?  Is the company you work for competing
with anyone?  If you create a product that is cheaper and better than
someone else's product, and that other person goes out of business
because he cannot sell his product as a result of your creation and
marketing of your product, then by your logic, you are doing something
immoral.

> You might say that the artist already has millions of dollars, but
> again, it is not your place to put a cap on what he can earn. You
> might say that you shouldn't be restricted to share that mp3 with
> your friends, but by allowing you to do so you are hindering that
> artist's business (yes, potential sales constitute the basis of
> commerce).

I could give a rat's ass about your economic construct.  I am telling
you that I have a right to copy.  You need to be making an effective
argument as to why I should relinquish that right for the good of the
economy.

> Again, my freedom is preserved because nobody forces me to buy his
> mp3 (or I can if I want to) and the artist has his economic freedom
> to do his business they way he likes it.

It's not about economic freedom.  It's about personal freedom.  You do
not have a fundamental right to make a buck.  You do have a
fundamental right to try to get others to willingly give you a buck in
exchange for something.  You do not have a fundamental right to ask
the government to force someone else to give you a buck for some
arbitrary reason.  If you expect others to willingly do that, you need
to give a rational argument about how the economy will be better off
for it.  You can expect the government to *spend* someone else's
freedom for some greater good.  But you have to realize that this is
exactly what you are doing when you advocated copyright -- spending
other peoples' freedom.

> What I mean is that removing copyrights does not give the public
> more freedom (it gives more options but the freedom to choose
> already exists) and it does take away the right of enterpreneurs to
> do business according to their wishes.

People have a right to try to persuade others to give them something
in exchange for something else.  They do not have a right to constrain
a person's behavior in the privacy of his own home.

> Selling software is not immoral.

No, it isn't.  I thought I made it clear that I was not making a moral
argument.  You have decided to turn it into one, so I'm obliging you.

> It is not more immoral than asmall town baker making fresh bread and
> selling it to his fellow villagers. Putting a restrictions on the
> copying of my work is not immoral as I am not forcing anybody to buy
> it but rather I am ensuring that I receive just compensation
> according to the demand for my product.

Now you're twisting and sugar-coating the issue.  You are using the
government to put a bubble around a business model by coercion of
behavior.

> Denying this is going against the principles of free market and
> taking away some of the most precious economic and commercial
> freedoms Americans enjoy (as opposed to some made-up "right to
> copy").

Enforcing copyright in the modern technological age can also be viewed
as shoehorning obsolete laws into unnatural models.  Now information
is much more dynamic, and it has application outside of its
instantiated forms.  You cannot blindly project the principles of
property laws into such a paradigm.

> Also, I am in no way siding with M$ (although I like and use several
> of their products). While a great advocate of free market (as much
> as I am an advocate of OSS), I do not condone monopoly. Monopolies
> and cartels go against the very foundations of free market.  That
> is, free market means that no one vendor or group of vendor can set
> the market value of a product, but instead is left to the demand and
> the supply to determine it. Monopoly and cartels give the power of
> choosing the price to a few individuals and therefore it's against
> free market.

Then you are a hypocrite, because you just got done explaining how a
derivator should have a government-granted monopoly over the privilege
to make and distribute copies of information.

> In other words, stop being religious about it.

This is a religious issue.  ``Intellectual property'' is all about
belief.  Do you *believe* that information is equivalent to physical
property?  If so, you will attempt to regulate its use in accordance
with how physical property is regulated.

> I know that despise of copyright laws is a big trend in Free
> Software circles but that doesn't make it logical or right.

I didn't way I despised it.  I just described what it is.

> Consider the rights you would tamper with by enforcing Richard
> Stallman's ideas. Ah! And don't forget, Richard Stallman is an
> active, registered member of ACLU.

I thought I pointed out how Microsoft or RMS are both using copyright
principles to further their own agendas.

Mike
.___________________________________________________________________.
"The law will never make men free; it is men who have got to make the
law free."
 - Henry David Thoreau

From amcnabb at mcnabbs.org  Fri Mar 25 11:28:14 2005
From: amcnabb at mcnabbs.org (Andrew McNabb)
Date: Fri Mar 25 11:28:26 2005
Subject: [uug] Open Source vs. Closed Source software
In-Reply-To: <20050325172204.GA16887@halcrow.us>
References: <c61ea2d361ec75eb062f98c056b64edd@mr-r.net>
	<d48d46c405032420356b8165fd@mail.gmail.com>
	<20050325143436.GA9001@halcrow.us>
	<d48d46c405032508242866c04d@mail.gmail.com>
	<20050325172204.GA16887@halcrow.us>
Message-ID: <20050325182814.GB16814@mcnabbs.org>

Okay, everybody.  It's easy to get emotional in some of the more
political discussions.  I'm glad where we have a forum where we can
share opinions.

However, I'd like to remind everyone that swearing is not something that
we can tolerate on the list.  It's all fun and games until someone loses
an eye.  Or something like that.  Just use common sense.  Fortunately,
it's a tiny minority of people that have a problem.


-- 
Andrew McNabb
http://www.mcnabbs.org/andrew/
PGP Fingerprint: 8A17 B57C 6879 1863 DE55  8012 AB4D 6098 8826 6868

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