[svlug] what did you all think about....
rick at hugin.imat.com
Sat Aug 22 01:31:17 PDT 1998
Rob Walker <rob at varesearch.com> wrote:
> What did you all think about RMS's comments this afternoon about
> non-free books? The more I think about it, the more I am puzzled.
RMS has earned his credibility the hard way -- with extremely high
quality, running code. Because of this, I am cheerfully willing to
listen to him carefully -- and not laugh -- no matter what odd thing
he says (e.g., saying he'd been "ashamed" when he used proprietary
software to get work done). I'll buy his t-shirts; I'll buy his
(ahem!) books; I'll praise his work to the skies. He's earned my
respect -- and I really do mean that.
One of Richard's endearing traits, is that he's unfailingly, reliably
consistent -- logical to the core (as distinct from _reasonable_).
In this case, what he said was utterly consistent with his general
attitude towards intellectual property in general -- he's agin' it:
When you write a meg or so of text (i.e., a book's worth) and give it
to someone, you're not impoverished thereby. Richard figures that
you're a "hoader" if you don't allow untrammeled access to the "source"
of this creative work -- same reasoning as with software.
Mind, he's applied this reasoning only to _software documentation_.
He makes the logical claim that, if software must be free, then the
documentation claiming to it must be likewise.
If you share his major assumptions, then this conclusion has been
inherent all along, and was destined to be traced out at some point.
> Which brings me to the crux of the question. Do we run
> Free/Open/Libre software _because_ it is free/open/libre, or for some
> other reason? Some seem to think it is because of 'control' (Bob
> Young, RH Software) that FOL software is popular. Is the same true
> for books? Didn't RH Software 'gpl' one of their books?
As is generally true in human affairs, people's motives will upon
examination turn out to be mixed, I'm sure. Mixed -- and differing
depending on circumstance.
Cheers, "Heedless of grammar, they all cried 'It's him!'"
Rick Moen -- R.H. Barham, _Misadventure at Margate_
rick at hugin.imat.com
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