why free?

MJ Ray mjr at phonecoop.coop
Tue Jul 19 00:16:21 UTC 2005

Markus <gnufriend at gmx.de> wrote:
> 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 freedo=
> ms,
> but i just need the tool do get a job done and if it does the job it's ok"
> For example if i get an PDF which can displayed only by the
> acrobat reader. Should i say "the reader is bad because it's non-free" and
> don't read the PDF or should i just use the acrobat reader to read this one
> document? I think you could tell very few people to do the first thing.

It is interesting that you mention acroread as an
example. The latest version of acroread may let you read that
PDF, but it can also help to advertise the fact that you
read it, thanks to its support for spyware as described in

Now, is that OK to your "PC appliance" users or not? It did
their washing, but it also sent the details of the unusual
chemicals washed off them to the local constabulary and told
the environment agency what they just put in the drain.

Adobe also had a rather more direct effect on one developer's
freedom during the Sklyarov case. Burn all PDFs, anyone?

> [...] But what i ask is: Is the
> license always the most important thinks or are there situations were other
> thinks are just more important?

The licence is not very important in itself. It's a tool. It's
what the licence facilitates or hinders that is important.

MJ Ray (slef), K. Lynn, England, email see http://mjr.towers.org.uk/

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