The binary nature of Freedom

John BEPPU beppu at
Sat Jul 13 03:41:20 UTC 2002

[  date  ] 2002/07/09 | Tuesday | 03:30 PM
[ author ] Bernhard Reiter <bernhard at> 

> It is told that RMS once said: "Your freedom to swing your arm
> stops at my nose."

I agree with this statement.  However, the concept I am trying to bring
to people's attention is one level below this.  Ask yourself:

    What makes it possible for you
	to stop at his nose?

    Why do you refuse to punch a person?

The answer to this -- if it is a 'positive' one -- is the emotional
foundation of freedom.  Without love and respect for your fellow man
and woman, there will never be any freedom regardless of how many laws 
are repealed/passed.  If people cannot find kindness in their hearts,
we will forever be fighting wars regardless of how many treaties are

Like I said in my comments at
I think that Free Software is just a small part of the equation.
However, being a programmer, I wanted to help other programmers
try to make the connection between love and freedom in terms that
they could understand, and that's why I used the GPL for my examples.

I feel like I failed, though.  People pulled out their legal microscopes
when I wanted them to be using telescopes to look far into the 
hypothetical future.

> The section about the benefits of the GNU license and gcc is too
> monocausal to be a solid argumentation. It is more like an illustration.

I agree.  "An illustration" is a good way of describing my essay.


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