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Re: Fedora Freedom and linux-libre

Alexandre Oliva wrote:

Not wanting to participate in distributing code without source is one
thing; calling it unethical is something else and implies that
everyone else is wrong for doing it.

Merely distributing non-Free Software is not unethical [intent or
disregard for harm upon others], it's only immoral [harmful to society
at large].

It is the restriction against redistributing useful combinations that is the most harmful, not any particular component.

It's imposing the restrictions that render Software
non-Free that's unethical.

But it is the GPL restriction that takes away your choices.

> Accepting them, passing them on,
encouraging others to do so are all bad, but they're not as much of an
aggression as initiating the disrespect for others.

If you respect others you allow them to make their own choices instead of taking them away.

In fact, most
users who accept such disrespect, and many who pass it on, are more
victims, even though they're ultimately helping the aggressors.

Aggressors counter each other through competition.

Failure to resist violence does encourage the aggressor to keep on its
act, but being overpowered is not the victim's fault.

You aren't a victim when you make your own choices.

And again, vendors who distribute code without source are not
necessarily unethical

I don't see how else to describe it.  It's willful deprivation of
useful information for understanding and improvement of one's copy of
a program, and deprivation of additional contributions to society.

You are making some philosophical leaps that I can't follow here. First, in the generic terms we are discussing, there is no reason to assume that the source is correct or contains anything useful. Perhaps all the comments are misleading or it doesn't even work.

don't care how market pressure or other reasons one may use to justify
such acts to one's own conscience.  Such reasonings as "it makes
business sense" or "it's more profitable" or "other businesses do it"
could be used to justify slavery as well.

Do you assume a moral imperative for everyone to always share all information that they have? If not, how does distributing a binary trigger this requirement in your mind? From my perspective it seems better to distribute working binaries than nothing - or broken source. But in fact there should be no moral or value judgement on distribution of 'content' since its value can only be determined by the recipient and that determination will relate to his particular needs.

> Although slavery deprives
people of more fundamental freedoms, dependency on technology nowadays
is growing the importance of the not-so-fundamental human rights that
amount to the 4 essential freedoms of the Free Software definition.

Slavery is taking away choices. So is distributing software that has choice-limiting restrictions.

Personally I consider competition and equality (i.e. having your
choice of components) to be much more important than source
availability for any component.

Source code is essential for only two of the four freedoms, so don't
bother focusing only on that part.  Don't let yourself be misled by
the term 'Open Source'.  Even open source activists know it's not just
about the source being open.  It's a matter of not being artificially
prevented from doing a number of things that every software user
should be entitled to do with their own copies of software, just like
they're entitled to store whatever they like in cupboards they
purchase, figure out their functioning, remove internal walls to make
room for larger items, and create other identical or different
cupboards for themselves and for others.  Same goes for chairs,
tables, houses, bikes, etc.  The fact that software is mostly
intangible should make all this all easier, rather than becoming a
tool to create dependency and control people.

Yes, but the freedom I want is the freedom to combine components without restrictions. Or actually, for someone else to make those combinations and offer them for less than the price of equivalent popular software.

Thus restrictions on combining and redistributing components are
much more evil, unethical, and detrimental to long term developments
than any current NDA or binary blob could ever be.

I agree with that to a large extent, but it's the law.  As long as the
law is the way it is, it can be at least put to a better use, to
maintain a level playing field.

The playing field would level itself if there were less restrictions on being able to recombine components for any purpose.

Remember, the GPL doesn't prohibit combining or redistribution, it's
the law that does; the GPL permits very broad cases of combination and
redistribution that respect others' freedoms.

No, the viral nature of the GPL takes away anyone's freedom to choose the copyright for their own work when improving something with existing GPL'd code.

But then, see, I'm not trying to prohibit anyone from creating this
combination that contains non-Free Software or distributing it.  What
I'm concerned about is maintaining a variant that doesn't contain any
such non-Free Software, and offering it to whomever might be
interested in using it.

And I'm not particularly against that other than not seeing the point. Other than the technical issues of dealing with files early in the boot sequence it would seem to make sense to separate the firmware loaders/initializers from their payloads.

  Les Mikesell
   lesmikesell gmail com

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