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What is freedom?

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Joined: 2005-12-20

Ok, So I took libervisco's lead and started a new topic, about what freedom is in the world of computing.

I believe that is software is truly free when it is allowed to be put in free and nonfree (Even OS X and MS) software, because if it isn't allowed it isnt freedom, if we are gonna do it, then we may as well allow as much freedom as possible to the software that people develop, so what do YOU think?

libervisco's picture
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This thread continues from here: http://www.nuxified.org/forums/viewtopic.php?t=9&start=15

Now, let me just ask you this.

Is freedom to take away freedom really freedom? Or is it the imposition of power to take away someones freedom.

I think BSD grants you freedom, indeed, but it also grants you power people should not have, power to take it away by relicensing software as non free.

That said, I agree that people should be able to put Free Software even on nonfree systems such is windows (not a favorable thing nor a final solution, but it's a step up towards independancy from proprietary monopoly), but as long as this particular Free Software stays Free Software.

What I am talking about is when Free Software is being relicensed into nonfree software because previously used BSD license allowed that, therefore giving you that power.

Power =! Freedom

Thanks
Daniel

dylunio's picture
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Joined: 2005-12-20

Should one have the freedom to create slavery?

That's the question when it comes to "should I have the freedom to redistribute free software as non-free software?".

To the former one would say no since it removes the power from the people and makes them slaves, and it gives their power to the slavedrivers. In the same way by letting people redistribute free software as non-free software removes the power from the users and gives it to the licencer.

So since I think to compare the freedome to create slavery is wrong I feel the fleedom to make free software non-free wrong.

dylunio

libervisco's picture
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Yes... just one thing though, to attempt to make it clearer. Developers are inevitably users at the same time, so to say that we want to give "power to the people" which are users we mean power to developers as well, only in equal amounts making everyone free, not just some.

Also, it is a bit tricky to use words "power" and "freedom" interchangably. People should not confuse themselves to think that those two things are the same thing. Those two things are NOT the same thing. The "power" is more like "stuff" that needs to be properly distributed. In that sense "freedom" is a way of distributing it fairly so that everyone has enough power to feel free and live as a full human being.

If power isn't distributed properly, freedom is lost. BSD is an acceptable Free Software license as much as GPL, but contrary to GPL it has that one flaw where it allows power to overstep the boundary of freedom exactly because it gives power to go against freedom.

Hopefully I haven't confused someone with this. Smiling

dylunio's picture
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Didn't confuse me Smiling

Thanks for clearing things up Smiling

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Joined: 2006-01-31
"libervisco" wrote:

Is freedom to take away freedom really freedom? Or is it the imposition of power to take away someones freedom.

I'll bite.

Let's say I write program foo and distribute it under a BSD/MIT-style license, or no license at all Wink . Megacorp decides they like foo and they incorporate it into one of their products, which is non-free and closed-source.

In this scenario, nobody's freedom is taken away. foo, in it's originial form, is still distributed by me as software that anyone can copy, modify, and redistribute freely, even though the Megacorp implementation of it is not free software.

Keep in mind, the less restrictive licensing I've put on foo allows anybody to take the code and distribute it under any license they want, including the GPL! So it's not that free software can become non-free/closed-source, but that there can be a non-free/closed-source implementation of it if someone decides that this is necessary. If Megacorp adds some functionality to foo that is not present in the free/open-source version, then I think it's their right to keep that added functionality from being free/open-source. (I'm just not going to pay them for the product, since there is a large, knowledgeable open-source community to write their own version of the added functionality on their own, anyways.)

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Joined: 2005-12-20
"olive" wrote:
"libervisco" wrote:

Is freedom to take away freedom really freedom? Or is it the imposition of power to take away someones freedom.

I'll bite.

Let's say I write program foo and distribute it under a BSD/MIT-style license, or no license at all Wink . Megacorp decides they like foo and they incorporate it into one of their products, which is non-free and closed-source.

In this scenario, nobody's freedom is taken away. foo, in it's originial form, is still distributed by me as software that anyone can copy, modify, and redistribute freely, even though the Megacorp implementation of it is not free software.

Keep in mind, the less restrictive licensing I've put on foo allows anybody to take the code and distribute it under any license they want, including the GPL! So it's not that free software can become non-free/closed-source, but that there can be a non-free/closed-source implementation of it if someone decides that this is necessary. If Megacorp adds some functionality to foo that is not present in the free/open-source version, then I think it's their right to keep that added functionality from being free/open-source. (I'm just not going to pay them for the product, since there is a large, knowledgeable open-source community to write their own version of the added functionality on their own, anyways.)

Exactly, all the dev has to think about is the fact that more people are using his app/daemon or whatever, it was their choice to put it under a BSD/GPL whatever license Smiling

libervisco's picture
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Well.. I don't have much to say at that. I don't agree or can't agree, but it is a matter of how strongly do you believe in freedom, its value and importance.

Some people just don't mind corporations coming along, taking the free stuff and then turning it into their monopolistic product that ultimately does hurts people's basic computing rights. Some do. I guess that's how it is (unfortunately).

I imagine though, that you wont be satisfied with that kind of conclusion. You don't need to be. You're free to think whatever you want. We can cooperate on a basis of where we do agree (which is why this "pragmatic" open source movement can and does cooperate with Free Software movement).

You don't need to be a genius to see what I think out of this. I think all proprietary software is wrong. Four freedoms are essential in the computing world as much as freedom of speech is essential in the world of press and media and elsewhere. The world apparently just doesn't get this importance so much as it gets the importance of freedom of press. Why? Possibly because ultimately, wide spread usage of computers is still pretty young. People we get it, in time. I just hope they wont all be sold out loosing freedom for convenience.

Thanks
Daniel

a thing's picture
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This would better fit with Libervis.com, but oh well.

"libervisico" wrote:

This way BSD can help Microsoft take away users freedom.

That's the best pro-copyleft statement I've heard.

libervisco's picture
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Heh, a_thing, if you say so. Smiling

Btw, let me just better explain where I am coming from on this issue:

"olive" wrote:

So it's not that free software can become non-free/closed-source, but that there can be a non-free/closed-source implementation of it if someone decides that this is necessary.

It is never necessary to sacrifice users freedom for developers profit. There are better ways a developer can earn profit and they don't include an anti-social act of imposing their power over users by licensing software under such restrictive terms. And every proprietary software license is essentially a monopoly.

"olive" wrote:

If Megacorp adds some functionality to foo that is not present in the free/open-source version, then I think it's their right to keep that added functionality from being free/open-source.

It is not their right. They only have power to do so as it is granted by the current copyright law. If they use that power they are imposing their control over their software user.

You can say that an user has the ability to not choose or buy that particular software, but reality shows it's not always the case. People get locked in because they don't *care* about their freedom. They just say "I'm gonna use this cause it looks best and works best" and "I don't care about the license" and then they'll buy it, sign that they agree and they're in the scheme. After some time of using that program they are hooked in and it's becoming harder for them to pursue a different route once they do realize that this software isn't controled by them (even though they payed for it), but always and in all cases by the developer. They can't change the code without developers permission (they don't even get to see it). They can't hire someone to change the code except *maybe* that developer (and if he refuses as well as denies permission for someone else to change it, the user is screwed). He always owns the program, controls what it does and forbids you to share it with any of your peers and you can't do a thing about that except go illegal, while you still payed for it. That is utterly unethical and anti-social and noone has the right to impose such power over other people even if they wrote and developed the program. That's just not a way to ask to be compensated for what you developed.

If we are to think, under the guise of "freedom of choice" that every choice is a valid one then we might as well think a choice to take somebody elses life is a valid choice too. (an extreme example maybe, I know) Isn't that kind of thinking flawed then?

Today, developers and copyright holders in general do have the power to choose any license they want, but choosing a proprietary license is not choosing freedom nor excercising any valid right of their own to do so, because they do not ethically have such a right. Thus, choosing proprietary licensing is unethical and immoral.

That's where I stand.

Of course now, I will again point out that having this view does not mean we should not cooperate with people that have different motives for using and developing Free Software (like open source people) or even proprietary software developers if they choose to offer help. I am not such an extremist to say that. Also, I wont be calling every proprietary software developer I know to be immoral or anything like that since I know that the way industry is set up today, most of them don't even know what they are doing and aren't fully aware of the ethical implications (they may be in the future if we succeed in spreading the message far enough). Not being aware doesn't make them directly responsible for any wrongdoings. Once they do know, however, they are responsible.

So there I have explained my position. This thread is indeed more suitable for Libervis.com, but I see no harm leaving it here in the lounge. People who start using Free Software and come here to discuss it and get some help ought to ask certain questions about the philosophical side of it. We certainly shouldn't ban those kind of discussions from nuxified.org, right? Eye But libervis.com is by default a better place for them.

Cheers
Daniel

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Joined: 2006-01-31
"libervisco" wrote:

I think all proprietary software is wrong.

As do I, which is why I don't support the use of any proprietary software with my money or my words. My prefered method of distributing software, multimedia, documentation, or any form of knowledge is to not license it at all, or put it under very few restrictions because 1) I don't believe in intellectual property rights and 2) I don't feel it's my job to impose my ideals on other people. I am at heart very much against closed-source software, but I don't feel I have the right to force this ideal on others. (Which is not to say the GPL is forced on others, because they have the right to choose alternative software).

I guess I have an idealistic view that people will realize this on their own, that people will voluntarily choose to abandon non-free/closed-source software projects in favor of free/open-source projects because of their inherent superiority rather than for the license that happens to be attached.

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I guess you could say our goals are the same: to have a world in which all software can be distributed, copied, modified, and redistributed freely. But our methods are different. My method is passive in that there is no positive nor negative actions taken to make the world this way, while your method is active in that it takes positive action to do so.

Well, at least our goals are the same, but we'll probably have to agree to disagree on the way in which we accomplish our goals. Puzzled

libervisco's picture
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Well, I don't have a problem with that sether. It is kind of like saying that you support this view and therefore just wont stand in way to those who take positive action to promote it, although you aren't that interested or motivated to take some of that action yourself, at least not intentionally. Smiling

That's sort of an agnostic view actually. Smiling I suppose it does no harm.

You still are involved and contribute to free software which is kind of a positive action nevertheless.. Anyway, I stil do favor active advocacy. Wink

Thanks

a thing's picture
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The problem with that is that even most GGPLed software users don't know about free software, so a lack of copyleft would actually do less to spread the ideology of free software if they might not even be using free software.

That probably could have been said better.

libervisco's picture
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I suppose you mean that even alot of those that do use Free Software don't know about the importance of freedom as an ethical and sociological implication behind it and the main goal why a GNU system was started at all, let alone those who don't even use it.

Well, that is why I think active advocacy is called for. It is easy to fall in line with "open source" philosophy. It's kind of natural for the current climate which seems to be putting blind pragmatism before anything (and businesses love it). It is though harder to spread a message that requires someone to understand something that isn't preached in the media all the time and isn't such a prevalent idea in the industry in general. It requires people to understand and then see the value of it and care about it.

That is exactly why RMS keeps pushing for the OS to be called GNU/Linux and not just "linux" (because GNU is associated with the original project with those original ideals) and why has he dedicated his life to spreading this message.

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