why free?

Ben Finney ben at benfinney.id.au
Mon Jul 18 23:52:13 UTC 2005

On 19-Jul-2005, Markus wrote:
> yes your are right. I think that its never good to lose freedom, too.

Does this mean you think it is always bad to lose freedom?

> But my question is more if non-free software is always bad or are there
> situations were you could say "It's bad that i don't have all the freedoms,
> but i just need the tool do get a job done and if it does the job it's ok"

I don't see why you're setting those two up as either-or. The way
you've framed them, they don't contradict each other.

  * non-free software is always bad
  * non-free software is always bad, but I want to use this program

Those two aren't contradictory. "Bad" doesn't mean "Never allow anyone
to use this". It is bad to attempt to enforce a usage restriction on
someone because of the copyright license, whether the motive is good
or not.

Just because the *act* of restricting software is bad, doesn't mean
people should be *restrained* from using that software. That's not
what free software advocates.

Rather, we should be *encouraging* free software actively, and
*discouraging* people from using or accepting non-free software, based
on the relative arguments for and against.

The reason we keep banging on about it is that there is a lot of
disinformation about software freedom out there. That doesn't mean we
want users of non-free software to be locked up; we want to help them
choose freedom.

One major part of that is to make them aware that they are currently
not free, and then to encourage them to demand a free alternative.

 \     "I wish there was a knob on the TV to turn up the intelligence. |
  `\      There's a knob called 'brightness' but it doesn't work."  -- |
_o__)                                              Eugene P. Gallagher |
Ben Finney <ben at benfinney.id.au>
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