What's so important about the ethics of free software?

Alessandro Rubini rubini at gnudd.com
Mon Dec 19 08:25:52 UTC 2016

> You actually believe that the
> user's "rights" exceed mine as the author?  I'm willing to bet that there
> is at least one other person out there in the FSF(E) community that is
> willing to stand-up and publicly challenge that assertion.  Anyone?

Here. As an individual, not representing any organization.

Still, as a user I have the right to not read (or run) what the author
writes.  Just like I willingly choose not to read some books because I
know they are politically flawed and not to watch most of TV stuff
because it has no value for me.

What I'd love to see is more consciousness about the potential dangers
in running proprietary stuff. And not because people can and will
modify the program: nobody does these days, because it's awfully
difficult. It is not "as simple as possible" any more</rant>.

The worst danger in my opinion is lock-in and monopoly. Here and now,
not 20-30-40 years ago. And to prvent that we should get as many
allies as we can, even when we differ on the details.  There's only
one person that is perfectly aligned with my political view; working
only with perfectly-aligned people makes each of us fight alone
against the world.

I agree with J.B. about free software in education not being limited
to computer science, but I also agree with Charles about the child
learning the alphabet.   The main problem, in my opinion, about software
in schools is that teaching a proprietary tool (e.g. a CAD suite, or
math software) is directing future purchases, helping current
incumbents preventing competion -- worse, they usually count those
"no charge" copies as direct expenses to detract taxes from real
business.  Education should never direct purchases (yes Charles,
this "should" is very strong and ethical for me).

> "Great value" and "moral obligation" are quite different.  I urge FSF(E)
> members to consider modifying the FSF(E) doctrine to make it more realistic
> and inclusive.

We try to. And sometimes we fail in that.

/alessandro, speaking only for himself

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