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Re: A more fundamental issue..
From: Jeroen van Drie (jeroen3va.net)
Date: Thu Nov 13 2003 - 14:48:02 CST
Barry I agree with what you wrote.
I tried to be ironic in my post with this paragraph about the NSA. Did the NSA
think they could get away with releasing such great secure code under the GPL
without getting fallout for it? "What were they thinking?" I think they knew
what they were doing, consciously chose the GPL over the BSD license; a bit
of a political test balloon as well.
To me, freedom and democracy are higher goods than "free enterprise and fair
competition"; China proves it; they have quite a lot of free enterprise and
fair competition without providing their own citizens with freedom and
But a government that develops GPL code and hands it out to redhat, suse, et
all .. isn't that government in competition with Microsoft? How could MS ever
integrate such code?
My belief is that when a government (co)develops software and does not release
the source for its citizens benefit the only excuse is national security.
Embedded in government developed source code is a democratic process and
hence it is important citizens can both review and freely use that process.
In fact as operating systems and libraries become part of the social
infrastructure I think it is vital for organisations like the NSA to get
involved doing their bit to secure that infrastructure from people who would
take advantage of it. Fortunately they're still hosting
On Thursday 13 November 2003 20:03, you wrote:
> Jeroen van Drie wrote:
> >And really what was the NSA thinking, using US taxpayer money to develop
> > GPL software? While the principle of democratic governments developing
> > GPL software is sound democratically, it is very much opposed to the
> > ideas of free enterprise and fair competition.
> I was entirely with you up until this point...
> Although I disagree that it is entirely up to the business or end user
> to choose. Home users don't have a choice because they aren't provided
> with a readily available one and most businesses rely on software
> provided by other businesses, which usually runs on windows. It's not
> as simple as just "install GNU/Linux and have no more MS-related
> vulnerabilities." There really is a vendor lock-in going on here, but I
> agree with the general premise of your point.
> However, I'm sick and tired of hearing this bunk about how the GNU GPL
> is opposed to the ideas of *free* enterprise and *fair* competition. It
> is not the GNU GPL that is opposed to those ideas, it is proprietary
> software that is directly opposed to them.
> If the argument you're making is that the government should have placed
> selinux under a BSD-style license because proprietary companies can take
> "fairly" and "freely" from the fruits of public resources - I
> respectfully and forcefully disagree. The very purpose of proprietizing
> software is to generate a vendor lock-in. There is no other purpose.
> To argue that the right to allow a vendor lock-in is synonymous with
> fair competition and free trade is like arguing that true freedom is
> having the ability to take away the freedom of others.
> That is not freedom, that is chaos. And chaos begets tyranny and hence
> our current situation in the software industry.
> All you're doing by propagating ill-conceived notions of that sort is
> setting the stage for making things worse over time. Please do not
> mistake chaos for freedom - there is a SIGNIFICANT difference.