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

From: Kurt H Maier <>
Date: Tue, 20 May 2008 07:28:09 -0500

On Tue, May 20, 2008 at 4:10 AM, Szabolcs Nagy <> wrote:
> On 5/20/08, Kurt H Maier <> wrote:
>> Freedom is an absence of restrictions. The GPL implements
> no, freedom is a very broad concept
> there are different possible interpretations (eg. freedom of society
> and freedom of individual are quite different as mentioned earlier)

All valid definitions of freedom involve an absence of restrictions,
whether it's an absence of restrictions on individuals or an absence
of restrictions on society as a whole.

> a plausible definition of "freedom of a license" may care about the
> long term and global consequences (not just direct restriction count).

No, that's the definition of an "implication of a license." Freedom
is a measure of the absence of restrictions, regardless of whatever
semantic gymnastics you were taught in university.

> (eg. allowing to kill is more free by your definition (less
> restrictions), but if we care about consequences then it's less free
> (it may pose much more restrictions on the possibilities of an
> individual))

This is a specious analogy. When you kill someone you permanently
remove them from the population. Compiling a binary and releasing it
without providing source does not remove the source code from the
public grasp.

> societal consequences can be part of the definition of freedom

Repetition doesn't make it true.

> as you can see, there is no general agreement on the exact meaning of the term

There is in fact near-universal agreement on the exact meaning of the
term. You, and certain members and employees of the FSF, have
deviated from that meaning. This doesn't make the original meaning
less valid; nor does it make your revised edition more valid. You're
simply using the word incorrectly.

> most likely everyone would agree that public domain provides more
> freedom than GPL, but whether GPL is free or not is just a
> terminological question

It's not "just" a question of semantics. The word "freedom" has
connotations that are far and away more emotionally charged than any
denotative definition of the word. When you, and the FSF, start using
it to describe a copyright license that imposes restrictions on
people, it's a clear case of obfuscating reality for political
purposes, and it's disingenuous. It's also not a very good way to get
people on your side.

> a more interesting question would be what is a desirable goal to
> achieve with licensing

Personally, I'd like to see copyright law abolished entirely. The
entire concept of licensing is distasteful to me, but that's the world
we live in.

# Kurt H Maier
Received on Tue May 20 2008 - 14:28:11 UTC

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