[Fsfe-ie] Re: ethical interpretations of FS

Ciaran O'Riordan ciaran at member.fsf.org
Tue Jan 27 08:36:51 CET 2004

Ian Clarke <ian at locut.us> writes:
> Pointing out the potential for an undesirable scenario which doesn't
> specifically conflict with the goal of an organization does not imply
> that this goal must be extended to oppose that undesirable scenario.

The goal of the Free Software movement is to give freedom to computer
users, not just "offshore" their lack of freedom.

A future of everyone using Free Software thin clients to do their
computing on remote machines running proprietary software is not only
undesirable, it's unacceptable, and IFSO should not endorse it.

> The software is not undisclosed to the person on whose hardware it
> runs - that is all that matters relative to the philosophy of the Free
> Software movement.

I think we've reached deadlock.

My personal position is that all software that IFSO uses, on local and
remote computers, should be Free Software, unless use of the software
is unintentional or unavoidable.

I think that's a reasonable position for a Free Software organisation,
and I think that use of the software in our computer BIOS's and
accessing web pages which are served by non-FS webservers falls under
a reasonable interpretation of "unintentional or unavoidable".

> your desire to encourage me to disclose the source code to software
> I run on my computer is mission creep for IFSO.

It would be good if you did release it as Free Software, the more the
merrier, but I'm actually not looking for a new way to work on IFSO
letters.  (as a side note, I don't think I ever asked you to disclose
any of your source code.)

I did previously suggest that IFSO should try 3D17 if it was Free
Software, but after some thinking, the mailing list is probably a better
fit since it already has sixty-something subscribers, and by email
people can offer comments, rewordings, attachments, or hyperlinks.

Also, people are used to email.  We had a wiki once, and wiki's are
great, but people didn't use it.  I would like to get a wiki or some
kind of collaborative web tool, possibly a topics&comments forum, but
we have to first figure out why the last wiki failed, and what people
actually want.  Then we'll pick the best Free Software for the job.

As for mission creep, ethics creep, and all the other creeps: IFSO's
mission, ethics, and procedures are ripped off wholesale from FSF.
For ethical interpertations of FS, although FSF is not infallible,
it's safe to say that they are experts.  FSF don't ask people to use
proprietary web services, so if IFSO did, I (as a member) would want
a good explanation. 

Ciaran O'Riordan
Irish Free Software Organisation: http://ifso.info/

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