[License-discuss] Language, appropriateness, and ideas

andrew.dema andrew.dema at gmail.com
Thu Feb 27 02:21:35 UTC 2020

Hello,Netiquette requires me first to apologize for formatting/syntax I'm writing this on a cell phone.I'm  jumping in here because I'd like to point out something that I think is being missed and can hopefully get the mailing list out of its spiral downwards. First I am not a lawyer, a great philosopher or terribly fussed about the US legal system or there citizens rights. I'd like to think this gives me an advantage as far as this discussion goes because much of the discussion I'm interested in and the core of what was asked is most applicable to developers such as myself and not lawyers or those well versed in the minutiae of the OSI from day 1 who would use legal arguments and not the OSD itself to answer me. I'll start with my point. From my perspective the beginning of open source and free software came from a moral/ethical argument surrounding proprietary software and wishing to provide a more free and anti tyrannical form of software providing users rights that those founding open source found both moral and logically consistent. It's not such a stretch to ask if this methodology makes those that use it avoid unethical practices why not also stop actors that do them. All I wish to point out is it's possible to see where the asker may be coming from and it's not out of a place of outright malice. Also from a non legal perspective you can't fault a possible user of a license from asking themselves how they can espouse the use of open source software but solve the problem of there work being bigshopthatshallnotbenamazoned and open source development die. So let's be civil and maybe try and explain in more universal terms.I'd also be interested in furthur discussion about the implications of a "wall of shame" in a license. Is such a thing OSD compliant? Is it akin to badgeware? I felt we lost that discussion somewhere and that's a rather interesting loophole that is effectively already being used by some developers in open source packages. for example xscreensaver and it's debian packaging with the creator asking debian not to use or distribute it if they don't update fast enough, etc despite the license or gnu parallells asking you not to use it if you don't  cite its use in your scientific paper. All despite open source licenses. 
-------- Original message --------From: Russell McOrmond <russellmcormond at gmail.com> Date: 2020-02-26  7:32 p.m.  (GMT-05:00) To: license-discuss at lists.opensource.org Subject: Re: [License-discuss] Language, appropriateness, and ideas On Wed, Feb 26, 2020 at 3:29 PM VanL <van.lindberg at gmail.com> wrote:the right of ESR to share them - this isn't "appropriateness as censorship." But in my experience, such strong language is usually not effective in changing opinions, and it can lead to a situation where we only hear from people who agree with us, to all of our detriment.Sometimes strong language is required to emphasize when it is felt that an attack on basic principles is underway, and the attacker is abusing a language of "ethics" to try to suggest that anyone opposed to their attack is somehow "unethical".This is the same debate that has been happening around freedom of speech for as long as I've been alive.  A belief in freedom of speech is not indicated when you applaud someone expressing something you agree with, but when you defend someone's right to say something you consider abhorrent.Free Software and Open Source software only works in an environment that protects software freedom in the same sense, meaning you only believe in software freedom if you will defend software freedom for entities you consider abhorrent.  Otherwise, you were never defending software freedom in the first place -- only the alleged right of software proprietors to express their personal political views in software and software licenses.I have found the fact that these entirely conflicting ideas have been entertained as potentially compatible with software freedom for so long to be offensive.  If someone wanted to ask why so-called "ethical software" was incompatible with software freedom, we could document that.  But when the topic continues to be how to do an end-run around the OSD in order to allow "ethical software" to essentially steal the work of reputation building that the Free Software and Open Source software movements have done over decades, it is hard to understand why people would consider that ethical.I guess I've seen so many actual social justice movements corrupted over the decades that I don't trust that OSI will automatically survive it without adequate fighting back.I'm extremely happy that ESR has been using strong language to make the critical points that need to be made.  I don't agree with all of ESR's personal political views, but that is the point: we each fight hard to defend each others software freedom, regardless of our personal political views outside of software freedom.-- Russell McOrmond, Internet Consultant: <http://www.flora.ca/>"The government, lobbied by legacy copyright holders and hardware manufacturers, can pry my camcorder, computer, home theatre, or portable media player from my cold dead hands!" http://c11.ca/own
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