Second Life and Open Source
Posted Dec 22, 2006 18:14 UTC (Fri) by zlynx
In reply to: Second Life and Open Source
Parent article: Second Life and Open Source
You obviously use different definitions of freedom than I do. And at any rate, I was arguing about how buying a console affects *my* freedom not if the console itself is "free" in an open general purpose system sense.
I'm free to do anything I like with my Gamecube. It is physically in my possession. All its atoms belong to me and I can examine and rearrange them as I like.
Just like Open Source software, the people who actually build a thing get to decide what it does. You didn't build the Gamecube, you don't get to decide.
You can rebuild that Gamecube to do *anything* physically possible to fit in there. It's *incredibly difficult* but it isn't illegal. Or at least, most things you can do with it aren't illegal.
And if you're careful with the law, you can reverse engineer, build and sell a GameCube clone that plays GC games. It's the copyrighted ROMs that kill emulators, not the emulation itself. If they put in the effort to clean-room the ROMs, they'd be in the clear. Again, it is *difficult*, not *illegal*.
So you see, I *am* free to play Zelda without a GameCube. Eventually. After way more work than it'd be worth doing.
In order to me, myself, to be "not free" in a computing sense, my government would have to pass laws preventing me from building and programming general purpose computing machines. Neither Intel nor Microsoft nor Nintendo can take away my freedom by not providing what I want. They cannot prevent me from having an open computer system. Given a textbook and a big enough breadboard I can build a 4004 or 6502 clone. With a FPGA I can do a lot better.
The only thing that truly takes away freedom is coercive violence, which is a thing governments jealously reserve for themselves.
I will note that I do believe laws governing real property rights and copyrights *do* limit freedom. However, I believe we all benefit from reasonable limits on freedom. My freedom ends where your nose begins, as the saying goes. Or your dog, or your car, or your lawn, or your computer program.
That said, show me the violence inherent in the Gamecube system and maybe I'll agree with you that it somehow limits my freedom. :)
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