Free Toaster (was: Defining Free Software Business)

Alfred M. Szmidt ams at
Tue Jun 27 17:54:32 UTC 2006

   > If you cannot excersise your freedoms due to a technical
   > `restriction' (e.g. ROM soldered to the PCB), then what is the
   > point of having partial freedom?

   That's exactly the point. If I can't have "full freedom" for
   technical reasons (and I assume the restriction was done for
   technical reasons, and not to deliberately take away my freedom),
   then I want to have at least as much freedom as possible. Partial
   freedom, IMHO, is still better than no freedom at all.

Well, how is your freedom to study the toaster restricted?

I think it is similar to a museum having a instrument on show that you
are only allowed to examine for a brief period of time to be able to
reproduce it.  You can't disassemble it, but you can play it, take
measurements of it, pictures and what not, to be able to make a
duplicate copy of it.  You don't have full freedom to the instrument,
but you can examine it sufficiently to be able to make a similar or a
duplicate of it.

   I could of course refuse to buy any toaster with proprietary
   software in it. But as soon as you replace "toaster" by "washing
   machine", I would get in serious fights with my wife ;-)


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