Re: [dwm] Freedom (was: Re: sic ipv6 patch)

From: Sander van Dijk <>
Date: Tue, 20 May 2008 11:02:55 +0200

On Mon, May 19, 2008 at 11:54 PM, Matthias Kirschner <> wrote:
> [After this message, I will only reply off-list, because I think it is
> off-topic on the technical dwm mailinlist -- and I do not want to annoy
> others. If you would like to continue the discussion in public, let's
> move to another mailing-list like]

Given the fact that you've already indicated the topic shift in the
subject, and the fact that others seem to interested in it as well
(given their replies), I'm continuing it on-list for now.

> - For whom? The individual or the society?

Society is just a bunch of individuals. When a license forbids the
individual to use the code in a closed source product, it forbids
society as a whole to do so. As I've said before, that may be morally
justified, but it's a restriction of freedom nonetheless.

> - Which dictionary should I believe? Yours or my political dictionary,
> which says a lot more about the term? Is there a master human
> dictionary somewhere? For which language?

No there isn't. But here is a pragmatic approach: I've shown you some
examples that clearly indicate that MIT/BSD provide more freedom than
GPL does. Can you show me at least one that shows the opposite (no
cheating by making up your own please)?

> - "Not just 'people'"? Who writes dictionaries? People, or God?

People write dictionaries, last time I checked. But since the FSF
definition of freedom clashes with each and every definition of
freedom I've seen in any dictionary, the FSF's definition seems to be
comparable to Microsoft's "standards" to me: for some skewed
definition they're right, but for any common definition they're not.

> I had university seminars about the term "freedom", and I do not think
> that we should stop thinking because a dictionary says something
> (otherwise the dictionary takes away your freedom, doesn't it?). Or do
> you look up "life" in your dictionary?

Ah, so university seminars is where the real thuth comes from...

Your remark about not stopping thinking misses the point: I can spend
my entire life thinking about the meaning of the word "tree", only to
figure out that there is none. Words have no innate meaning, they are
given meaning by humans for the sole reason of easing communication.
Once we start attributing different meanings to the same word, we are
impairing communication. Sure, dictionaries are not perfect, but
they're the best we currently seem to have to resolve differing
opinions about the meaning of a word. "Freedom" is defined in every
dictionary I've seen so far as something that MIT/BSD provides more
than GPL does. It may be so that there's something more "moral" about
GPL, but if so, you'll have to use a different word to describe it;
"freedom" is already taken, and it describes something that GPL is
less about than MIT/BSD are.

Best wishes as well,

Sander/who probably couln't stop thinking even if he wanted to
Received on Tue May 20 2008 - 11:03:02 UTC

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