Ownership in Software

Alessandro Rubini rubini at ar.linux.it
Wed Apr 21 21:21:12 UTC 2004

I reply to this specific message, but I've seen the same "mistake"
in other messages of yours.

> Consider this: If I programmed something which is extremely useful I
> would like to claim the ownership in that program. But I am that
> smart, that I do not sell it. Instead, I give it away for free and
> undr the GPL.

Then, you claim authorship, not ownership. In "why software should
not have owners" the strong term "owner" refers to people who
deny the rights on the software (the four freedoms, but it's more
a general discussion than that).

So yes, we all agree you are granted authorship, what we disagree with
is exclusive and strict ownership. If you are the owner of your work,
it means you are also the owner of _my_ copy of your work. (Here "copy"
means "instance" or "specimen").

Another misunderstanding in your posts is about the "food" comparison
made by Rui Miguel Seabra. He bases his example on the hipotesis
that food can be replicated at no cost.  Sure physical food that
can't be replicated has owners, since taking it away from them
would leave them without their "copy". Please re-read his message
with this in mind (the replicator, in the whole message). Then your
message is based on wrong assumptions (and it's not bad, without
the replicator hipotesis).

> What Linus could probably do is taking the newest version of the
> Kernel and publish it under a new license.

No. He's not the only copyright holder. He can relicense his own work,
which is a tiny fraction of it all nowadays. But this is a detail.

[I didn't read it all, yet, just wanted to clarify this misunderstanding
about ownership and authorship]

Alessandro Rubini, free software specialist.
Device drivers, embedded systems, courses.

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