Subject: Re: "Well, I want to switch over to replace EMACS LISP with Guile." From: Erik Naggum <firstname.lastname@example.org> Date: 15 Oct 2002 22:47:05 +0000 Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp Message-ID: <email@example.com> * Steven E. Harris | The negative aspects you mention aren't problems with a particular | license; they're social problems with any collaborative effort. On one level, this is true... | That the GPL encourages personal modification endeavors only makes these | social problems more manifest. ... but another level, the question is indeed whether the GPL is an enabling legal framework or a disabling legal framework. There are many other enabling legal frameworks and many proponents of free software would benefit greatly from real insight into copyright and contract law. All too frequently, they believe in myths and what they believe is better is only better than what they believe the opposition believes, but when the opposition does not actually believe it and the benefits are only better than some imaginary, not better than any real alternatives. Many other contracts have worked very well in the history of mankind, and the legal framework within which most business is conducted is far better at their job than the GPL is when it comes to sharing knowledge. The myth that the GPL is freedom and everything else is not is a bad one. | Perhaps they didn't take the time to probe what you meant. You're | offering a spare lure with "supposedly free." Interesting imagery, but far more flowery than "supposedly free" was ever intended to communicate. My point is quite simply that it is supposed to be free, but when you look closely and carefully at it, it is restricting and confining. | Maybe you could ask, "Even though you have a legal right to take this | software and make it your own, do you expect to be able to build a | separate user base and developer community around your effort?" It is the "make it your own" part that is what the freedom should have been about. This is where Free Software actually fails. You are free to donate your work to the community, but not to make it your own. A huge aspect of the social framework we have erected in the Western world is that we both want people to help maintain society, but also to reward people for their work and encourage those who can improve it. The Free Software model encourages people to maintain the society created by Free Software, but they are not rewarded for their work and those who want to build on what they have been taught in order to build a better mousetrap, find that their investment of time in Free Software is detrimental to their ability to be rewarded for their inventions. When we as a society are willing to pay taxes and force children to get an education and not only work for their living as soon as they can, the point is to raise the baseline of human endeavors and encourage people to work together over the years to raise it even more. This is where Free Software does not deliver, but real education and research and commercial intellectual property rights actually do their job pretty darn well. However, as is typical in the computer industry, people are so unskilled in social and legal frameworks that they favor revolutionary over evolutionary progress. | Most people are first concerned with having rights and later with | actually using them. I find this a very odd statement, but it is perhaps what happens when not even your parents had to fight for these rights and they become so abstract that "having rights" is worth something by itself, as opposed to what your grandparents wanted to do with them. | Your argument hinges on the latter, and perhaps your opponents focus only | on the possibility of success - if not the likelihood - enabled by having | this right. My argumet is that success is not enabled by these rights, but is harder to obtain with them than without them. | Are we looking for some derivative project that wound up in court where | the GPL saved the day, or just a fork that lived on and attracted a | healthy following? The GPL has never really been tested in court as far as I know, but I have not kept track of that aspect, but more important to me is that the GPL community has been much better at /not/ forking than actually making use of the supposed freedom, to the point where forks are /fought/. -- Erik Naggum, Oslo, Norway Act from reason, and failure makes you rethink and study harder. Act from faith, and failure makes you blame someone and push harder.