Subject: Re: Is LISP dying?
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: 1999/07/24
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
Message-ID: <>

* Craig Brozefsky <>
| I might agree with this.  This is much different than your last post tho,
| where you talked about protecting the work from modification and copying
| by the unwashed masses.  How is the notion of ensuring that people can
| profit from their outstanding works tied to the notions in your previous
| post of protecting the work from the unwashed masses?

  consider that some work of art (including a piece of software for the
  sake of discussion).  it has been the result of much work and, say, all
  the creativity of someone, at least for some significant amount of time.
  I say it and the authors needs protection so they can reasonably expect
  to earn a life's worth of money since the put it all on the line.  that
  can not happen if the unwashed masses are able to take their work and
  modify it slighly and profit from it instead.  however, if there are
  other artists in the crowd who get their life's one successful brilliant
  idea from studying this work of art, we could have lost a brilliant idea
  if he could not study this work of art, and that would be "really sad"
  (for lack of a less emotive motivation ;).  that is, I want there to be a
  significant hurdle to be cleared before a work of art is admitted as a
  new work of art, worthy of individual protection instead of contributing
  to the profitability of the first work of art of which it was a derived
  work that the first author(s) should benefit from.  in particular, I see
  it more beneficial that contributions be funneled back to the authors,
  than that there be a right to modify and redistribute, but I recognize
  that those who make contributions should continue to own them.  in brief,
  I want sharing source code to make good business sense for everyone.  the
  free software movement makes it good business sense only for the users.

| From your previous posts I understand that you see the ends as increased
| efficiency in software production, to allow civilization to move forward.

  I consider the furtherance of the state of the art in programming to be
  much more valuable than the products.  this means that my "efficiency"
  argument is one level removed from the production.  I don't believe
  people will create better software if they can copy from others at will
  and nobody really owns the sources.  I believe people will create better
  software if they (1) can learn from available source code, and (2) know
  that they need to make a significant contribution themselves before they
  can expect to reap any meaningful benefits from it.

| I see Free Software as a means towards increased diversity in the type of
| software that is produced.

  if I understand you correctly, this is because more people's voices may
  be heard than a mass market can ever cater to?  if so, I agree that this
  is a likely consequence of the availability of source code, but I don't
  see the restrictions placed on free software to help this end at all.  as
  it is today, you cannot take what you have gleamed from free software
  with you if you want to recover your investments and get enough money to
  fund the next.

| Also, I see Free Software as an end in itself.  The mode of production of
| Free Software, based largely on collaboration and cooperation is better.
| I'm not sure it is more efficient, or competitive, I simply prefer to
| have my relationships with others organized that way.

  which alternatives have you considered?

| Can you still converse with someone who does not share your understanding
| of what the "ends" are?

  of course.  I believe any point of view is worth heard as long as it is
  not actively trying to or in favor of suppressing other points of view.
  or, put it another way: as long as people respect a framework of open
  discussion and don't start being "terrorists" because they feel they
  aren't heard enough otherwise, sharing ideas can only be profitable.
  (this incidentally means it's more important to make extreme ideas heard
  than generally acceptable ideas, because the need to be heard is so
  strong with people that they'll all to often do dangerous and destructive
  things if they aren't heard, but I digress.)

| I've had alot of good thinking inspired by your posts so far, so I hope
| you can.

  thanks, and, again, sure.

  suppose we blasted all politicians into space.
  would the SETI project find even one of them?