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Freedom of choice supersedes freedom of software in my book.
Of hypocrisy and the FSF (Libervis)
Posted Dec 6, 2006 17:19 UTC (Wed) by havoc (guest, #2261)
Posted Dec 6, 2006 17:41 UTC (Wed) by cantsin (guest, #4420)
Richard Stallman believes in "freedom," which means you're free
to be "free" HIS WAY, and only his way.
Richard Stallman is, for me, a shining example of the worst kind of
Posted Dec 6, 2006 22:13 UTC (Wed) by drag (subscriber, #31333)
Sure the guy isn't very good at getting points across sometimes, but RMS isn't saying what the OP thinks he is saying.
It's not evil to use Free software. There is no goal to make all software Free in the FSF's defination or anything like that.
Take firefox for instance:
Firefox is obviously free software.
So it's perfectly fine and ok to distribute firefox..
But the problem from RMS/FSF's point of view is that:
A. The binaries you download from Mozilla.org contain a tiny amount of propriatory software. (I don't know if they fixed that by now)
B. It encourages the use of propriatory software.
So what happens is that you go to a flash site, for instance, Firefox will prompt you to download propriatory software to deal with it. It'll tell you should use the propriatory software, it will download it and it will install it on your machine.
So you have free software actively encouraging users and aiding them to take their freedom away.
Of course for us it's easy to say 'no thank you', but a naive person will probably misunderstand this and still think they are running Free software, if they care about that sort of thing.
So it's the same thing with Debian and non-free. You have a free software operating system that actively encourages it's users to install propriatory software and aids in it.
At least it's not as bad as Ubuntu, which claims that it's free software, but then installs many megs of propriatory software by default.
That is why they don't recommend stuff like that to users.
Look at this way.
Say you have a webcam your trying to install on Linux. It requires that you have to be knowledgable about patching kernels and you have to modify the c code a bit to get it to compile properly and then you have to write some system scripts to setup the special device file with correct permissions which gets launched by Udebv.
Now it works ok and all that, but are you going to recommend that peice of hardware to normal people?
NO, of course not. There are other devices that would work much easier.
Is it then hypocritical for you to continue to use that webcam even though you can't feel that you can recommend it to others?
So we both know of course not, that would be retarded.
So it's the same thing with FSF and RMS. Their goal is to encourage the use and development of Free software. So they can't realy recommend any OS that promotes the use and development of propriatory software.
It's unethical from their viewpoint to promote such things. It's not unethical to use it, it's still Free software.. But you have to be carefull and knowlegable about the licenses and such when your using it.
Also you notice that FSF and such have changed licenses and worked with people and have done things that made it easier for people to use Free software for specific situations even if it made it easier to use propriatory software.
This is a hell of a lot better then some orginizations like Apache which are much much more inflexible with it's licensing requirements.
I am not saying RMS is god or that he is perfect or anything. I am just saying that if your going to accuse him or FSF of being hypocrites then you need to find something that they are actually guitly of instead of just making up bullshit that sounds good if you don't think about it to hard.
Posted Dec 6, 2006 18:03 UTC (Wed) by drosser (guest, #29597)
Back to the conversation. I don't think RMS has ever told any body "You CANNOT use non-free software." Rather, his position is that using non-free software is immoral. As such, when you have no free software to choose from, make the least immoral choice.
Posted Dec 6, 2006 18:38 UTC (Wed) by NAR (subscriber, #1313)
My problem is that not that long ago immoral people were burnt at stakes or not that far away immoral people are stoned to death - and I don't want to end up like that.
Posted Dec 6, 2006 18:49 UTC (Wed) by jimmybgood (guest, #26142)
Get real. The FSF is not a violent organization. No one is going to burn you at the stake or stone you for your software choices.
Posted Dec 6, 2006 20:25 UTC (Wed) by hummassa (subscriber, #307)
Posted Dec 7, 2006 11:55 UTC (Thu) by NAR (subscriber, #1313)
Yes, the Catholic church started that way too. Then a couple of hundred years later it started crusades. Being on the "moral highground" can do unpleasant things to people/origanizations.
Posted Dec 7, 2006 0:20 UTC (Thu) by bronson (subscriber, #4806)
Posted Dec 7, 2006 2:21 UTC (Thu) by xoddam (subscriber, #2322)
Posted Dec 7, 2006 9:42 UTC (Thu) by bronson (subscriber, #4806)
no exaggeration please
Posted Dec 7, 2006 23:15 UTC (Thu) by anonymous1 (guest, #41963)
Posted Jan 26, 2007 2:11 UTC (Fri) by bronson (subscriber, #4806)
Posted Dec 7, 2006 11:52 UTC (Thu) by NAR (subscriber, #1313)
Actually I'm not afraid of FSF - usually it's not the "preacher" who does the violence, but the audience.
Posted Dec 7, 2006 6:55 UTC (Thu) by ekj (guest, #1524)
Posted Dec 7, 2006 12:00 UTC (Thu) by NAR (subscriber, #1313)
Posted Dec 7, 2006 18:22 UTC (Thu) by cyd (guest, #4153)
Insinuating, as you do, that any argument based on morals and ethics is morally suspect is, itself, a moral position. Unlike the FSF, you haven't backed YOUR moral position with anything resembling a substantial argument.
Posted Dec 7, 2006 23:16 UTC (Thu) by sepreece (subscriber, #19270)
Posted Dec 8, 2006 0:21 UTC (Fri) by zlynx (subscriber, #2285)
More examples: children are denied the right to vote but are still protected and cared for. Male and female toilet facilities are usually segregated; this does not harm males or females.
What you may be wondering about is the harm that segregation, no right to vote, and censorship make possible. Segregated medical care PLUS low quality medicine and doctors is harm. No right to vote PLUS laws allowing your legal murder is harm. Censorship PLUS hiding corruption and abuses of power is like no right to vote (since we cannot vote meaningfully without accurate information).
Posted Dec 8, 2006 0:33 UTC (Fri) by nix (subscriber, #2304)
(i.e., I think your metaphor slipped a gear there somewhere :) )
Posted Dec 8, 2006 1:24 UTC (Fri) by zlynx (subscriber, #2285)
Posted Dec 8, 2006 12:19 UTC (Fri) by nix (subscriber, #2304)
Posted Dec 7, 2006 10:05 UTC (Thu) by lysse (guest, #3190)
When Stallman calls something "immoral", chances are he means something rather different from your local Catholic priest. Something that doesn't carry connotations of eternal torture. Sadly, I think people tend to load their own baggage onto RMS's choice of terms, forgetting that hackers tend to use English more precisely than most people do, and to whine about him on that basis. The above is a prime example.
Posted Dec 7, 2006 22:35 UTC (Thu) by peace (guest, #10016)
Which just means that NAR needs to decide what type of world he wants to live in.
Posted Dec 6, 2006 19:13 UTC (Wed) by jmmc (guest, #34939)
You did mean to say _software_ freedom, right ? Because you used the term freedom generally - in fact, you never mention the word software in your reply. You may have thought you were in the context of the software world, (this being LWN and all) but your reply, to me, exhibits that 'fear and loathing' extension which a lot a people ascribe to RMS for reasons unknown. I mean, imho, Richard seems like the 'least nuanced' person I've heard in the software world. To me, RMS has always just stated his case, and left it for us to decide. This idea that he has some sort of, 'uber-sinister' plan via the FSF to bring us what ? - more freedom ? is just strange to me.
Richard, as I hear him, (and I'm neither an apologist nor general defender, just a, imho, decent listener) continually speaks about 'Free Software' - in fact, although he may rarely and briefly digress in to issues of wider freedoms in the context of the whole of life, I rarely hear him use the terms 'Free' and 'Software' apart from each other. Richard, to his credit, always keeps the discussion about Free Software, as supported by existing copyright law. Once you've heard him go through the four freedoms (again, for software !), that pretty much sums it up. I never get the feeling RMS or the FSF is trying _force_ some sort of 'RMS/FSF Way' on me or on the software I choose to write or use.
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