VW scandal

J.B. Nicholson-Owens jbn at forestfield.org
Fri Oct 9 10:35:58 UTC 2015

> - - the law could even go the opposite direction, giving consumers a
> right to have software inspected and modified.  Many countries already
> have laws giving consumers choice in other areas (e.g. the choice to
> have their car serviced at any garage and not just with the franchise
> where they bought it) so why shouldn't they have the same right of
> choice with software?

VW's fraudulence puts the public in a potent position to demand serious 
changes such as publishing complete corresponding source code. Strongly 
copylefted free software (such as AGPL v3 or later) will help users against 
future fraud and possibly make the affected vehicles trustworthy and 
saleable again. It would be good if VW drivers, for instance, could get 
complete corresponding source code for their entire car licensed under the 
AGPL v3 or later so they could take that code to someone they trust and 
know that whatever work was done to that code would also respect their 
software freedom. Non-copylefted free software under some pushover license 
could be extended with nonfree code and thus stop being valuable in the 
foreseeable short-term future, recapitulating the very problem that led to 
this fraud in the first place. A proper fix will mandate that all 
distributed code must be free and ensure that freedom travels with the code.

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