Subject: Re: Questions about Symbolics lisp machines
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: Wed, 27 Mar 2002 03:53:42 GMT
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
Message-ID: <>

* Bulent Murtezaoglu <>
| I dislike this as much as I dislike Stallman's overloading of 'free.'
| If the maker says 'take this, you can use it in whatever manner you 
| want except you have to abide by such and so rules that _I_ set' it is
| hardly theft.

  I have to assume that you are aware of what happens to any desired
  changes to a GPL'ed program.  Briefly put, the author can change the
  license for some customers and charge money for the product, but if you
  want to make money on your enhancement, you quickly find out that you
  have no way to do that.  You cannot even sell it back to the author.
  I mean, I even (voluntarily) signed the copyright of my enhancements to
  GNU Emacs over to the FSF.  Today, this choice makes me not do things for
  GNU Emacs if I think I can make money off of it, and sometimes, I can.

| I used to occasionally loan money to friends or outright give them money
| as a gift, I'd say stuff like "do whatever you want with it except
| spending it in a bar."  Now by your stretched analogy, this is no
| different than a non-drinker strealing from me.  Not so, I voluntarily
| give up my control over that money with some stipulations.

  What if they took the borrowed money and either invested wisely or won in
  the lottery so they got a 1000-fold return, and just gave the money they
  borrowed back to you?  Would you still keep financing other people's
  investments or gambling?

| This is clearly correct.  Free (ie no money) software has been used by
| not-so-benign companies to do just that.  (If anyone cares to respond
| please do not repeat libre != gratis arguments.)

  I maintain that libre == gratis at this point and that there is no point
  in trying to argue that libre does not imply gratis, but gratis does not
  imply libre, of course, which I think those who argue "libre != gratis"
  are trying to communicate, and themselves imply that libres does not
  imply gratis.

| Motivations aside, the effect you described in the previous paragraph
| seems inescapable unless there's some magical mechanism that sees to it
| that monetary costs are automatically incurred whenever somebody gets
| some use out of some software regardless of whether the creator of that
| software wants compensation.

  What seems really curious to me is that some people actually believe that
  if they can find a problem with a proposed solution that itself has no
  solution, then the proposed solution should not be discarded.  I find
  such lines of argumentation to be intellectually dishonest, not because
  they use it very selectively, but because there are always more problems
  and never any perfect solution, so it _cannot_ be an argument against any
  solution at all as it makes all solutions equally impossible.

| As you might be well aware, several companies are trying to make money
| off of reselling help/labor that most of us give away for free on usenet.
| You yourself have probably produced much elucidating prose on many issues
| for free that nonetheless had enormous value and could probably have been
| saleable.  You set a great example, in my opinion, by your well thought
| out and extremely well written prose.  If more able people follow your
| example a potential market will be killed.  Are you aware of this?

  Do people answer all questions?  Can anyone here be held accountable for
  not answering, for giving unsatisfactory answers, for giving wrong or bad
  answers?  The difference between a professional service and a voluntary
  service is accountability.  That is what you pay for.  (Of course, that
  does not mean that people should be allowed to post downright bad advice,
  but there is no legal sanction against it, only social, and some of those
  who do not care whether they give bad advice or not as long as they think
  it is in good faith, become very hostile to a requirement to give good
  advice.)  People in a reasonably friendly community help eachother and
  they return the favors.  The currency of good-will is not worthless, but
  when people do not return the favors, it becomes worthless and giving
  away "support" at that time is killing the market for support.  But as
  long as the people you help can become productive members of the same
  community, there is exchange of real value.

| Does it only become offensive when some cultish behaviour emerges and not
| otherwise?

  You are not under attack, so just cut the counterattacks, lest you want
  to attack first, of course.

  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.