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

J.B. Nicholson jbn at forestfield.org
Mon Dec 19 18:45:51 UTC 2016

Charles Cossé wrote:
> Not necessarily.  If I license it with a proprietary license, yet still
> publish the complete source, then your statement it factually incorrect.

Giving someone a copy of a program's source code doesn't grant them 
permission to create derivative works, distribute said source code, or 
distribute modified copies of the program (to name a few of the freedoms of 
free software).

> Your use of the word "should" is, again, overstepping.  It is not for you
> to tell anyone what they "should" find outrageous.  Regarding your point, I
> believe that it is unlikely that any educator would concur with your
> assertion that they are "telling a student that their education ought not
> include" such understanding.  If the goal of the educator is to get the job
> done and teach the kids math then they are probably not concerned with such
> fine-grained philosophical subtleties.

Sounds like an educator that isn't doing their job very well. You are 
clearly trying to dismiss software freedom as a necessary factor in 
computer use when real-world examples keep pointing out the need for 
software freedom.

> Once again, I take issue with your use of the word "shouldn't".  My
> intentions can be whatever I decide my intentions are.  Keyword: "my".  "My
> intentions", as in "freedom of intent".  You actually believe that the
> user's "rights" exceed mine as the author?

There's your problem: you're looking at software freedom as excessive or 
being somehow superior to the copyright holder's power instead of treating 
the program's users as equals in that they should all be free to develop 
the program in any way they wish.

> They certainly are a blanket solution and alternative to actual compelling
> reasons.   Invoking God, or ethics in this case, is hardly convincing these
> days.  What does the rest of the FSF community have to say on this?  It's
> okay to challenge sacred beliefs, it happens all the time.

I see no invocation of any gods in anything I've written on this thread and 
I'm unaware of any such invocation in the FSF's distributed materials.

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