Let's be clear, here...
Posted Oct 23, 2006 16:07 UTC (Mon) by cventers
In reply to: Let's be clear, here...
Parent article: Free gadgets need free software
I understand that your objection is one of the primary gripes about
the anti-Tivoization clause. It is one that many people share. It is also
one that I find patently absurd.
Quoting the GNU
Complete system sources will be available to everyone.
As a result, a user who needs changes in the system will always be
free to make them himself, or hire any available programmer or company to
make them for him. Users will no longer be at the mercy of one programmer
or company which owns the sources and is in sole position to make
changes. (emphasis mine)
(Keep in mind it is the GNU General Public License we are
talking about here)
And here, quoting from the foreward
to a GCC book, written by RMS in February 2004:
Good software must also be ethically good: it has to
respect the users' freedom.
By the early 90s, the nearly-finished GNU operating system
was completed by the addition of a kernel, Linux, that became free
software in 1992. The combined GNU/Linux operating system has achieved
the goal of making it possible to use a computer in freedom. But freedom
is never automatically secure, and we need to work to defend it. The Free
Software Movement needs your support.
And here, quoting from the Free Software
The freedom to run the program means the freedom for any
kind of person or organization to use it on any kind of computer system,
for any kind of overall job and purpose, without being required to
communicate about it with the developer or any other specific entity. In
this freedom, it is the user's purpose that matters, not the developer's
purpose; you as a user are free to run a program for your purposes, and
if you distribute it to someone else, she is then free to run it for her
purposes, but you are not entitled to impose your purposes on her.
At least for GNU, RMS, FSF and "free software", the goal has always
been to be able to use a computer in freedom. When a manufacturer uses
GPL-licensed free software and bolts on a crypto chip that prevents the
end-user from running any kind of modified code the manufacturer
themselves did not approve of, that does not maintain the right to use
the computer in freedom, and in fact, that's not even upholding freedom 1
(the right to adapt the software to your needs).
It's at times like this that I really do sympathize with Stallman and
his dislike of the term 'open source'. There has been for a long while
people who don't align well with Stallman or his message and 'open
source' was a deliberate effort to distance from that. In the process, I
think a lot of people started forgetting / stopped caring about the goals
of GNU or the FSF, or the 'freedom' in 'free software'. That sucks.
But what really sucks is the fact that there are people who now feel
like using the computer in freedom or having the freedom to adapt was
apparently never part of the equation in the first place. If you're not
happy with that idea, let's talk about that, but this 'freedom' stuff
isn't 'what the post of the week on some random website implies' - it's
the fundamental philosophy.
And perhaps you never cared to listen to or consider that free
software philosophy. That's fine. I read up on it extensively, which was
why I'm totally unsurprised and unoffended by the GPLv3's
anti-Tivoization clause. It makes perfect logical sense, and it's
precisely in the spirit of GNU, FSF, RMS and GPL. But if you never
realized this was about using a computer in freedom, and instead adopted
the 'open source' idea entirely with no consideration for 'free
software', perhaps you should have chosen another license than the GNU
General Public License, written by Richard Stallman of the Free Software
I agree with Linus. GPLv2 is a great license. But I don't see how
GPLv3's anti-Tivoization clause counts for anything more than a
clarification of legal terminology to stop something many people (even
many kernel developers!) consider abusive.
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