why free?

Rui Miguel Seabra rms at 1407.org
Mon Jul 18 19:15:37 UTC 2005

On Mon, 2005-07-18 at 03:09 +0200, Markus wrote:
> But what i don't understand is why should every software be free or why
> non-free software shouldn't exist? I have read a lot of things,
> www.gnu.org/philosophy and the german book "Freie Software zwichen Privat-
> und Gemeineigentum" but i couldn't find a answere of my question. There are
> a lot of arguments about the advantage of free software but no real
> arguments why non-free software is always bad.

Easy. Show me a situation where non-free software is good (note: by good
I don't mean technically better but that the fact that it is non-Free is
good), and there you will have the exception that breaks the "always".

So far I haven't found any situation where loosing one of the four
freedoms is good, but I can be proved wrong. Can you help me?

> If i understand it, many people argue with the influence of software on our
> life. But other things has also great influence on our life. For example
> before email and instant messaging, the phone was (and maybe is today too)
> the most used way to communicate. But no one has access to the "source code"
> of this communication and can change it, copy it and so on. Is the phone
> therefor a bad thing?

Not the phone per se, but the phone's software and architecture.
One of the main aspects that actually causes non-free to be absurd is
the fact that the cost of knowledge-dissemination should be as low as
possible, and in digital media the cost is virtually zero.

So while I can't (yet) replicate a cell phone for virtually zero cost, I
can do so with software, music, etc...

> What do you think. Are there situations were the question about the license
> is not that important? Or is it always important that every software is
> free, and why do you think it is?

Many people take their freedom for granted, so they see no need to
defend it or make sure it is there. Comfort is the greatest ally of
freedom's enemies.

But eventually you will feel the need to exercise what you were once
free to do, and when you cry out... it may be already too late.

As I said above, prove us there's a case where it is good that some
software is non-free. All evidence points in the contrary, but there's
nothing like some hard-fact against it to make one sure.


+ No matter how much you do, you never do enough -- unknown
+ Whatever you do will be insignificant,
| but it is very important that you do it -- Gandhi
+ So let's do it...?

Please AVOID sending me WORD, EXCEL or POWERPOINT attachments.
See http://www.fsf.org/philosophy/no-word-attachments.html
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