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

From: Szabolcs Nagy <>
Date: Tue, 20 May 2008 23:03:21 +0200

On 5/20/08, Sander van Dijk <> wrote:
>> - ppl won't know about original source because it's not named, so they
>> will face evil restrictions
> Here's where you're wrong. The reason ppl will face "evil
> restrictions" here, is not because of a lack of freedom, but because
> of a lack of knowledge. You basically say so yourself: the reason is
> "because the original source is not named". Hence, the problem here is
> not the freedom of the original source, but the receivers ignorance of
> what the original source is, and the rights it gives him. How to deal
> with that is an interesting question, but it is _not_ a freedom issue.

lack of knowledge can mean lack of freedom (with my definition)

> Ignorance != lack of freedom (which demonstrates, again, how some
> people try to attribute an incorrect meaning to the word "freedom").

the point is that ppl have no way to determine the origin.
they are not ignorant, but mislead.

of course it is an indirect consequence of the ruleset, but still a consequence.

> You're talking about restrictions of the new product, not of the
> original source (see my comments above).

yes, but this new product is the result of the permissive license.
in my opinion it makes sense to track the effects of a license further
than direct usage.

>> - so removing restriction might mean less freedom
> _Never_ for the original source. Btw, I really hope that you can see
> the contradiction in your own statement.

well i'm talking about the resulting sum of freedom of ppl (for whom
the original src might not be available (lack of knowledge, false
advertisment etc..))

(the example was a "proof by contradiction" to show that number of
restriction is not always a good measure of freedom, so the
contradiction is fine there)

> MIT/BSD just make software free.
> GPL on the other hand is not just trying to make software free, but
> also to govern in what way the receiver can use it. Now this may or
> may not be morally right, but that's a discussion all in itself. What
> isn't a discussion is that it's a restriction of freedom.
> In some situations, a benevolent dictator may be better for the people
> than total freedom, perhaps even better than democracy. Regardless of
> the level of benevolence though, a benevolent dictator is still a
> dictator, no matter what way you put it.

yes, we are talking about different terms
i deliberately used an alternative definition of freedom (and included
all the dictatorship), because it makes sense to me.

the restrictions in GPL may have moral/political/game theoretical
roots but imho it's valid to call it freedom.

yet another example (driving rules):

(a) everyone should drive on the right side of the road
(b) any side of the road can be used

by "usual" freedom definition (b) is more free, it allows one to use
_either_ side of the road.
in reality with (b) one can use _neither_ side of the road (instant
traffic jam, deadlocks at crossroads).

with all the restrictions, (a) makes sure that ppl actually can use at
least one side of the road, thus "globally" (a) provides more free
choices (1 insted of 0).
Received on Tue May 20 2008 - 23:03:23 UTC

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