GPL really free was Re: [Fsfe-ie] 1-page letter, faxes at the ready (IFSO, irish org)

Aidan Delaney adelaney at
Fri Sep 26 10:54:59 CEST 2003

> I'll take this off list and reply to you tomorrow. I didn't actually
> mean to make my views so public on this particular list but anyone
> interested can see plenty more on the fsfeurope discussion list
> archives.
Can you guys keep this on list?  I'd be insterested in the debate.

I for one interpret the GPL as a social construct.  It's intended to  
build a community of people who study, modify and redistribute  
software.  I also think that it is commercially exploitable (I'm  
organising a lecture by a CEO who _believes_ in Free Software).

I personally don't like things like Open Source or the LGPL.  I don't  
like the possibility that things could be unfree.

OTOH Ian Clarke was correct when he corrected me on what freedom really  
means.  I suggested that we should push for a Free Software clause in  
swpat legislation.  Ian correctly pointed out that goverment  
legislation that _forces_ the use of Free Software negates the whole  
idea of freedom.

So, as a social construct, the GPL is doing good things.  It's leagal  
status is debatable (and not wholly of interest to me).  If you don't  
choose to use Free Software I believe that you are missing out on  
several large advantages.  The opinion of people who believe in Open  
Source (as a superset of Free Software) or propritery software (as a  
disjoint set from Open Source) is valuable, but I don't want to see an  
IFSO settling for a "common position" of Open Source.

More information about the FSFE-IE mailing list