Tim O'Reilly Responds to "Freedom or Power?"
Subject:   Stallman's Vision: Less Freedom
Date:   2001-11-23 12:45:22
From:   earlh1
Essentially stallman says that freedom and power are a
dichotomy. Power is defined as control over others; freedom is defined as
control over one's self. You can't have both says stallman. Continuing -
the power to choose the license of the software you write is oppressive
to other people's freedom. Therefore that power must be taken away from
you. Only stallman's interpretation of what is "freedom" will be allowed
to stand. We will only be free when we conform to the leaders view of
the community.

The ends justify the means: Only those with the proper vision of
freedom?, the proper foresight?, the proper world-view?, enough
intelligence?, the purest motives?, are capable of determining FOR US
the license we must use. And Stallman would curtail our freedom to
choose by substituting his vision of what ought to be for what must
be. Stallman has taken his categorical imperative - we ought to use the GPL
- and turned it into an irreducible moral injunction - we must use the

Sounds like a pure definition of fundamentalist fascism.

Notwithstanding that the GPL makes huge utilitarian (read economic)
assumptions about the means to deliver the greatest amount of personal
freedom through software to end users. Stallman, in the GPL, presumably
requires that all closed source software that links to GPL software must
in turn be GPL'd. The presumptive policy behind this move it to build a
community of GPL'd software that reaches critical mass, becoming the de
facto standard in the marketplace thereby eroding ūthe ability of
alternatively licensed software to compete. Effectively, the vision of
the FSF is a world of commititized software. Stallman uses the power of
the state through copyright and his own intentionally obfuscated agenda
to bring about this future.

In this process Stallman is using HIS power to erode the fundamental
rights of others. First and foremost is the fundamental freedom to
publish what we want, when we want, in the manner that we want.
Stallman already uses the GPL to curtail that freedom. He advocates
censorship when it suits his agenda.

Nominally, Stallman is attempting to erode a supreme court
recognized fundamental right - the right to a pursue a living. If your
calling is software development and your personal pursuit of happiness
involves getting paid for your work; and if you use existing copyright
laws - LIKE STALLMAN - to leverage your ability - your power to be paid;
then watch out! Stallman's world has no place for you.

Stallman is using the power of the state in an attempt to curtail
your fundamental freedoms. Like a terrorist he is employing the
resources of the very institution he hates most - the Library of
Congress office of Copyrights - to curtail your ability to speak.
The GPL ultimately derives its power from the state. It's power
emanates from copyright law and from the ability of the executive
branch of the United States of America to use force to abridge your
fundamental rights. Stallman uses the very laws he denigrates as tools
to superimpose his world view on you.

If we take as a given the Stallman assumption that users have no power
to choose their software, then Stallman's imposed world is much worse for
everyone. Now, reasoning from Stallman's presumptions, neither the
developer nor the user is free.

In a liberal democracy free-market environment the only restriction on
your ability to license software should flow from your measured
potential to distort the market place to your advantage. Any other
restriction should be rejected on its face and then closely examined
to discover who's quest for power lies at its root.

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  1. Stallman's Vision: Less Freedom
    2001-12-29 10:43:39  dunhamb [View]

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