Is freedom useless to "the majority of users".

Simo Sorce simo.sorce at
Fri Jul 5 11:26:41 UTC 2002

On Thu, 2002-07-04 at 04:12, Rainer Trusch wrote:
> Hi,
> On Tue, 2 Jul 2002, Rui Miguel Seabra wrote:
> > On Tue, Jul 02, 2002 at 10:29:18PM +0200, Rainer Trusch wrote:
> >> answer two small questions:
> >> 
> >> What is freedom?
> > 
> > To be free from the control of anyone to do as it pleases without
> > restricting the freedom of any fellow human being.
> I give you another version:
> To be free from the control of anyone to do as it pleases

Well anyone's freedom stops where another's one start.
There cannot be _total_ freedom in every field, it's just a balance
beetween your freedom and another one's.
Control is another thing.

> >> What is freedom for?
> > 
> > Why, to live a long and prosper life, what else?
> It's an aspect :-), but you can have it even in a dictatorship, if
> you have the right position.
> The question might sound stupid, but in a society freedom has meaning
> and a function and this is changing during times. Okay, it's geting a
> bit abstract, but that shouldn't be forgotten.

No, basic freedoms do not change.
Free speach do not change, it can be vetoed, and people that speak
freely can be prosecuted, but the meaning of free speach does not
And the same is (imho) for the 4 basic freedoms of free software.
You can be against them, but their meaning is clear.

> > I don't really see what's your problem. Fredom is a quite simple and
> > basic thing...
> I don't agree. It is getting really complex, even from these few
> sentences. Off limits is a quite common form of freedom and everybody
> carrys his/her own version of freedom the head. You can easily damage
> another person with a misuse of free speech without limiting his/her
> freedom.

Limiting free speach is not good, never.
Having rules that may ask you to repair if you say maliciously bad words
about other people may have sense, but only as it is do not become a
masqueraded arbitrary limitation of free speech.

> We have to take care about our relationship to these points. All our
> ideas about freedom, free speach, democracy derive from times when we
> didn't have all that. But this is more or less gone and keeping a
> strong relationship to an every day issue is always
> difficult. Moreover we are facing an increasing 'misuse' of our
> freedoms.

"Misuse" of freedom? Interesting concept, can you explain how freedom
can be "misused"?

> I don't want to stress that to much, but if the term freedom is so
> excessivly used and a basic idea, there should be some reflections on
> it, which I hardly ever saw.

You should not mix freedom and control, and freedom is claimed so
"excessively" later only because it is at a risk, and being effectively
limited by governments and corporations.
The 11 September tragedy help a lot people that want to limit freedom
unfortunately, as an example Microsoft both in USA and Italy is trying
to instill fear uncertainty and doubt against free software (FUD) by
saying this kind of words in public: "oh I'm so surprised that Al Quaeda
has not yet control of missile facilities or key state structures as the
code is in the wild and anyone can see it." or their deposition in
antitrust case where one of the head directors of MS said that they
cannot reveal any code because it would pose a national security problem
and terrorist could make lot of damages as the security of that code is
very low.
Or similar words that take the last fall tragedy and terrorism as
shocking words.

Freedom is really a basic concept per se, instead today application of
freedom may be tricky and not trivial as it should be, because of many
interests of those people that want more control than freedom.


Simo Sorce - simo.sorce at
Xsec s.r.l.
via Durando 10 Ed. G - 20158 - Milano
tel. +39 02 2399 7130 - fax: +39 02 700 442 399
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