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Frank Heckenbach frank at g-n-u.de
Thu May 10 23:55:38 UTC 2001

Kari Pahula wrote:

> > > proprietary software). Surely they'd like to have us believe we
> > > can't influence politicians -- so they can do it more easily. And
> The question really isn't "can we affect politicians?", but "should
> we?"  The answer for first is "yes", but the outcome would be most
> uninspiring.  I think the latter is a "no".
> Let the reality gap between the grassroots and the nice tidy place
> where they live in grow.  All that remains for us then is to defend
> from their inevitable but feeble

Feeble? They make the laws, and they have the police to execute
them. Remember the DeCSS boy? I wouldn't want to live a few years
from now under laws where police could raid my home and confiscate
my computer any time because I write or use free software
(officially: because I violated some alleged trivial patents, or I
don't have the correct stickers on my computer or, what comes next,
perhaps because I don't want to give the SPA permanent access to my
computer over the Internet so they can check that I'm not using
"pirated software" -- the last one is fiction, but considering UCITA
etc. perhaps not too far fetched).

> (they are few, we are many) invasions

Yes, we are many, but there are much more people who don't care
about the whole issue at all and are strongly influenced by the
media. We know what happened to the word "hacker". If "they" start
some serious press compaigns and we don't contradict, we can quickly
have a strong public opinion and discrimination against us.

> and we would then live with only free software.

Not necessarily. It's conceivable that in a few years from now, we
will be able to do some things, e.g. buying certain things, doing
your tax returns, participating in political elections, etc., only
electronically and -- if we don't care -- only using proprietary

So, I think it's very important that "we" try to influence
politicians and the press. Since I personally wouldn't like to do
this, I'm thankful that others are taking this ungrateful job and
have, in fact, had some success already (e.g. in the patent debate
which is not over yet, but probably would be over, not to our
favour, if there hadn't been some lobbying from some free software
organizations and individuals, or in the UK crypto debate, or
getting support for a free software project (GPG) from the German


Frank Heckenbach, frank at g-n-u.de
PGP and GPG keys: http://fjf.gnu.de/plan

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