reported by Gnuheter
, a new essay published by Bradley
M Kuhn och Richard M Stallman carries the title "Freedom or Power?"
. The authors state
something that we might have suspected from essays from Kuhn and Stallman before
but now is a little more clear, if still ambiguous:
"However, one so-called freedom that we do not advocate is
the "freedom to choose any license you want for software
you write". We reject this because it is really a form of
power, not a freedom."
The essay is interesting in the light of an earlier essay
published by Eric S Raymond. Raymond
"In other words, Stallman and Kuhn want to be able to make
decisions that affect other developers more than
themselves. By the definition they themselves have
proposed, they want power".
Tim O'Reilly started the debate with his weblog of July 28,
definition of freedom zero, where O'Reilly states:
"If Freedom Zero for developers is the freedom to offer
software on whatever terms the developer sets and a user
will accept; Freedom Zero for users is the right to choose
whatever software they like, without interference from
platform vendors who try to deny that choice."
The issue is not simple. Stallman and Kuhn could be
attacked on liberal grounds and even more so on libertarian
grounds. This notwithstanding, you probably find a point in
"We believe you should decide what to do with the software
you use; however, that is not what today's law says.
Current copyright law places us in the position of power
over users of our code, whether we like it or not. The
ethical response to this situation is to proclaim freedom
for each user, just as the Bill of Rights was supposed to
exercise government power by guaranteeing each citizen's
freedoms. That is what the GNU GPL is for: it puts you in
control of your usage of the software, while protecting you
from others who would like to take control of your
I am not sure whether Raymond, Stallman or O'Reilly is
right, but to paraphrase Esther Dyson: the