Subject: Re: free software as a delivery vehicle for lisp
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: Tue, 02 Apr 2002 06:05:50 GMT
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
Message-ID: <>

* David Golden
| Cannot "take them back? - no, he cannot arbitarily decide to stop anyone
| using the patch he released, but at the same time, he can certainly, as
| the original copyright holder, use a new license for all subsequent
| versions of the code comprising the patch.

  The kwyword is "published".  Once published, some expression or idea is
  "out there" and cannot be taken back to be used as an "edge" elsewhere.
  If you are at all creative, you will see that you do things better than
  other people.  If you intend to make a reasonable living, your uniqueness
  comes with a price tag higher than the competitors in the labor market
  who are not as creative.  If you just give away your "edge", nobody has
  any reason to higher you at a better rate than your competitors or to
  hire you at all, because they can get a monkey to ask you questions and
  use your code, or look at all the patches you post and scavange them.

  Who is to tell whether something is a copyright infringement?  Just doing
  something wrong is not enough -- somebody needs to discover it before
  they can get reparations.  This is the hardest part of all of this.

| Well,yes

  Thank you for at least acknowledging the point.

| - but you wouldn't have the code at all if you hadn't agreed to the
| license - think about it "I just got the source for SQL Server from
| Microsoft, and now the big meanies won't let me change the license for my
| tree and resell it" - sounds silly, doesn't it?

  Please note that I have not used _anything_ from Microsoft since the
  Altos computer I got with Xenix back in 1985.  I have _never_ bought a
  license from Microsoft for any of their DOS-based crap.  Saying X is good
  by pointing out how great it is relative to Microsoft's crap does exactly
  _nothing_ for me -- I am _already_ free of their evil control.

  For a long time, I have argued that the _only_ purpose of the Open Source
  and Free Software movement _today_ is to fight Microsoft, and that this
  is an against-fight, such that the whole movement would disperse into
  nothingness if they actually won.  Regardless, I have found other ways to
  fight Microsoft than to give away my livelihood.  So that is no longer
  the only solution.  Productive thinking about the impact of free software
  has to return to a state of "unsolved problem", because I am no longer
  interested in any "better than pure evil" argument, and I think offering
  this argument over and over is deeply insulting to those who at least try
  to take you seriously and at least _try_ listen to your arguments.
  Microsoft is _completely_ irrelevant.  They have no more power over you
  than you give them.  Just do not give them any.

| The GPL is NOT public domain.

  Since you have to tell people this, you cannot have paid much attention.
  Please do not restate the obvious -- it tells people that you think they
  are idiots who missed it or that you are.

| You can still set up your own tree, but, without negotiating alternate
| terms with the original copyright holder, it'll be GPL...  Again, this is
| usually thought to be a feature, rather than a bug.

  Would you _mind_ trying to think about the issue?  We all know all the
  propaganda from the Free Software side.  This is about when and how it is
  _not_ a feature.

  You strike me as one of those recent converts who gets tricked into
  walking the streets offering people "personality tests", which is great
  for the "cause" you work for, but what is at stake here is not whether
  someone believes it is "beneficial" in some absolute sense, but the
  _relative_ beneficialness of some political ideal to all alternatives.

  In a fight against something, the fight has value, victory has none.
  In a fight for something, the fight is a loss, victory merely relief.