One more try at freedom

From: David Mertz <voting-project_at_gnosis_dot_cx>
Date: Tue Aug 19 2003 - 15:28:44 CDT

Alan J. Dechert
> ...freeness of the GPL (or other scheme) software is a bit illusory...
> In practice, this means that counties will never want to
> modify the code. I they have issues with the software, they
> will want to send their reports to the maintainers of the code
> and have them resolve the issue(s).

I continue to think it a problem that the organizer of this project
doesn't get the difference between cost and freedom. Even while
apparently edging in the right direction with comments like "open to
inspection," Alan continues to stay far away from the notion of free
software. Only software that really does have a free software license
-guarantees- that it remains "open for inspection." It's just "wishes
and fishes" to claim that you've "had the idea for N years" without
making it concrete in license form.

And then this anti-freedom characterization of the GPL's as "illusory"
moves that much farther away from an understanding he baby-stepped in
the direction of. I guess I can try one more analogy; maybe it will
work. How does this sound:

  The value of free speech is illusory, since it really doesn't make
  books any cheaper to buy.

To me it reads exactly the same way as Alan's comment; I can hardly
distinguish the two. Both sends shivers down my spine for the same
reason.

Maybe if the sourceforge page ever gets updated to reflect GPL license
status the fact will not matter. At least the license will have the
force of law, even if it is not understood all around. Can we get that
change made--it seems like there is consensus here.

Actually, I guess we may not quite have consensus, since Doug's
additional clause is still possibly slightly up in the air. Should I go
ahead and contact the FSF to try to figure out their opinion on the
addendum? Even if in the meanwhile we explicitly listed the
"GPL+revision log" license, we could potentially revert back to simple
GPL (assuming all contributors to the code so agreed).

Yours, David...

P.S. Absent hearing any objections, I'll go ahead and add the PD
disclaimer to the mailing list archives. If someone is unhappy with
being archived on such terms, please let me know soon.

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Received on Sun Aug 31 23:17:12 2003

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