equal treatment, or equally bad treatment
Posted Sep 21, 2007 13:59 UTC (Fri) by epa
In reply to: equal treatment, or equally bad treatment
Parent article: MadWifi developers move to ath5k
You are right that in any individual case it is better to have a device that someone can upgrade rather than enforce equally bad treatment on everyone. However, applying the rule of equal treatment to all cases creates an incentive for device makers to do the right thing, if their choice is between making the firmware updatable by the device's owner or not at all.
This 'all or nothing' rule is characteristic of the GPL (version 1 applied it to copyright, v2 to patent licences, and v3 to allowing updated versions to run). I think it has had some success in getting more free software and is worth continuing.
Bad analogy time: in many countries with forest fires it is illegal to build on land that has been cleared by burning, even if the fire was entirely natural. Clearly in any individual case this benefits nobody - it would be better to use the land rather than waste it. But as a general rule it helps to discourage people from starting fires deliberately.
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