[Fsfe-ie] 1-page letter, faxes at the ready (IFSO, irish org)

David Golden david at oldr.net
Fri Sep 26 04:19:13 CEST 2003

On Thu 25 Sep 2003 21:44, Niall Douglas wrote:
> Hash: SHA1
> What's wrong with using this list? It was only created very recently,
> so we really can choose whatever direction we like for it. So long as
> it's generally about free software with an irish perspective, you're
> fine.

Well, my first post to this list and it may seem a bit harsh :-( :

 I've been lurking for some time, as this list is a place where really strong 
anti-software-patent action has been happening.  Plus I'm Irish and 
interested in the FSF, though I'm not 100% in agreement with the FSF, myself 
(they're far too moderate and reasonable altogether... ). 

However, I figured I'd better get this out in the open right at the start:

You posted (on tuesday) some comments about the GPL being non-free...

That seems an odd (read: absurd) stance for an FSF list, and one direction 
that really would seem a tad inappropriate for the list to take while it is 
under the "FSF" banner.   You may have been joking or sarcastic, of course, 
and I'm not suggesting it's a _discussion_ that's inappropriate for the list 
(though it's been done to death over the years and gets kinda boring), but as 
a _direction_ I'd like to state my not-so-humble opinion right now that it's 
pretty damn silly.   

Of course, academically, the GPL isn't totally "free" like "I release this 
into the public domain" would be. Perhaps that's all you meant, but I don't 
really know. 

Of course, what would be even freer would be if copyright didn't exist at all.     

The GPL is designed to try to preserve some of the freedom that existed before 
software ("applied discrete mathematics") became copyrightable late last 
century.  It's doing a damn good job in the anti-free environment that the 
current crop of infofascists (WIPO etc.) have produced.  While the GPL would 
be unenforceable in the absence of software copyright and patent law, it 
would also be unnecessary, as people have pointed out ad nauseum.

Copyleft only acts "un-free" to those who would, secretly or otherwise, wish 
to "own" information under copyright law themselves and thus restrict the 
freedom of others.  I don't give a shit if some people can't sit on their 
arses and "sell" infinitely-replicable information patterns of software as an 
artificially-scarce "product" once the GPL takes over.  I could still make a 
packet on computers, doing ACTUAL WORK of installation, configuration, 
operational support, "bespoke" new development and so on, even in the 
complete absence of software copyrights (and patents).

While the current furore has temporarily united in opposition to patents many 
proprietary and free software people, I would not be in favour of pandering 
to proprietary interests on an FSF list - I'm not one of those wishy-washy 
"peaceful coexistence with proprietary software" open-source types.  That's 
like "peaceful coexistence" with an aggressive mucormycosis.

By now you may be saying "If I Ever Meet You I Will Kick Your Ass", but I 
really don't care - I'm a just bit paranoid about fifth columnists, a 
(Microsoft-favorite) strategy that has been used to try to destroy computing 
things before (with varying degrees of success - e.g. even the Amiga still 
has a kind of unholy walking-death, though I prefer to stay away from the 
shambling horror and try to remember it as it once was...)

 [quavery schlock horror voice] I know people have gone to Microsoft Research, 
and come back... different... [/quavery schlock horror voice] ... like 
invasion of the bodysnatchers different, or "I read Dianetics  and know that 
Scientology can help me" different...

David Golden.

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