Subject: Re: Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Encyclopedia
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: Wed, 31 Oct 2001 21:36:38 GMT
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
Message-ID: <>

* Kent M Pitman <>
| No, it doesn't.  Free software is public domain software.  Anything less
| is not free, it is restricted.

  The legal term, as you probably know, is "encumbered".  The interesting
  question when you would like to use some piece of software is whether it
  is unencumbered.  GNU GPL is one of the _worst_ licenses you can get
  entangled in because it encumbers not only derived works, but tries to
  encumber related works in ways that have not been challenged and upheld
  in court, but which are fairly scary.  On the other hand, it is pretty
  hard for anyone to find out if you take some "free software" and violate
  the GPL, because there is no tracking how people obtained access to the
  source code.  (The risk is, of course, disgruntled employees and the
  inability to share the source code with anyone.)

| The purpose of free software is not to assure freedom of the original
| code, it is to coerce the use of that code.  If code is TRULY free,
| nothing can restrict its use--the code continues to be useable by anyone
| who wants to use it.

  I believe the purpose of the GNU GPL and "Free Software" is to ensure the
  consumers, not the creators, are free to use the code any way they want.
  This works just fine if you do not consider the rights of any creators,
  which is consistent with certain political views that tend to think that
  whoever owns things deserves no protection or legal rights, and which is
  also consistent with the belief that there is a material legal difference
  between the creative work done by the little guy and big business.  There
  is none, but by killing the protection afforded the latter, the little
  guy is left to fend for himself, too, which is _much_ more unaffordable
  than fighting big business at times.

  Norway is now run by a priest from the fundamentalist Christian People's
  Party, the fifth largest party representing one eighth of the electorate.
  Carrying a Swiss Army pocket knife in Oslo, Norway, is a criminal offense.