The Invisible Hand

Matthew C. Weigel weigel+ at
Sun Sep 30 05:08:42 UTC 2001

On Sun, 30 Sep 2001, Russell Nelson wrote:

> No, the argument is that proprietary software is immoral and unethical.

Sorry, I did not intend to make expansive arguments about the sum total of
motivations.  I was specifically referring to the idea that software
licenses should not restrict us from sharing, and being a part of our
community, with the software.

I certainly did not mean "social" in the same way that going to a club,
drinking, and dancing is "social."

> No, not solely.  Yes, we argue that it is technically superior, but
> the main thrust of our argument is that it is a more appropriate
> choice for all software producers but those people extracting monopoly
> profits from retaining a restrictive copyright.

More appropriate on technical and pragmatic grounds, if I've read the
essays right :)

> There's another possibility: that RMS pulled his objection to the
> APSL out of thin air, and that it doesn't have anything to do with
> free software.

I don't agree.  I think that there are problems with it.  Then again,
I'm not convinced the QPL should be a free software license.

> See, the problem here is that in order to be truthful, you have to say
> "free software licenses according to the FSF".

I'm sorry, I  thought I was perfectly clear in delineating open source
as according to the OSI, and free software as according to the FSF.

I suppose the OSI is now a better judge of free software?

> And that means "what RMS thinks." I think there is more to "free
> software" than what RMS says, particularly when RMS says that "free
> software" imposes a requirement to allow users to retain certain
> specific types of privacy, but require them to give up other types of
> privacy.

I'd be interested in hearing about this (possibly privately).

> I've tried to talk to RMS about this, but he dismisses my objections
> as frivolous.

Interesting.  My experience has been that RMS responds to criticism
with an open mind, an interest in resolving conflicts, and a speed not
seen in other fora.  He has taken my criticisms to heart, and never
felt the need to call me a whiner.
 Matthew Weigel
 Research Systems Programmer
 mcweigel at ne weigel at

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