User talk:Tim Starling/Free software

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Tim, I mostly liked the way you expressed your thoughs, although I rarely agreed with them. Please, take the following comments as a respectful disagreement.

Free Software / Free UserEdit

A software is said to be Free Software when it's users are Free. Indeed, it's not the software that enjoys the freedom, but the point is not that hard to get.

In this context, your bike is a FreeBike because you are free to dismantle and reassemble it at will. (The bike design is not free, though. You'll probably get in trouble if you try distribute modifications of it). A better exemple would be a non-free car. You buy it fom Ford, but you're no allowed to look inside the engine. You can't even change you CD Player. If you car stops working, you're only allowed to send it to Ford to fix. You're a criminal if you take it to your local specialist. Mind, in such scenario, why would Ford care to support more than 2 year out-of-line models? You would need to "upgrade" (throw away your car, buy a new model) just to get and MP3-capable player!

Is that any different of what we get when we deal with non-free software? Not at all. The only differece is that for historic reasons most of us are used to free cars, free bikes... and non-free software.


The GPL does indeed takes away part of the user's freedom to redistribute the software. He/She won't be allowed to redistribute non-free variations of the original work. This is the evolutionary stable strategy adopted to make sure free software does not go into extinction. And IMHO, it does not hurts the ideals behind Free Software.

--Abu Badali 17:47, Jan 25, 2005 (UTC)

Whose freedom?Edit

This essay spends many words explaining that you have trouble with, or aren't willing to engage in, thinking "software that provides freedom" when you read "free software". Why is it so hard? Of course we're talking about the user's freedom; the Free Software Definition couldn't be much clearer:

"Free software is a matter of the users' freedom to run, copy, distribute, study, change and improve the software. More precisely, it refers to four kinds of freedom, for the users of the software:"

Cjbprime (talk) 15:46, 13 May 2008 (UTC)


I disagree that we should forgive people who betray our trust; instead, we ought to make them change themselves so that they don't betray anyone's trust again. Forgiveness only motivates people to continue betraying other people's trust, since they usually think that they gain something by doing so. Study of anarchist communities (from squats to largescale examples, e.g. Anarchist Catalonia or the Paris Commune, where most crime was eradicated anyway since without individual property there was no motivation for it) and collaborative animal species (bats and ants, and those studied by Peter Kropotkin) can show us how we can respond to people who betray other people: by either stopping sharing with them (which is essentially what GPL and animal species do) or by holding them accountable to the larger community and enabling them to see why it is in their best interests to not betray anyone's trust again (see also: Xeer). In short, the way to make people not betray anyone's trust again is to hold a community meeting and make sure everyone is informed of their behaviour, so that they cannot have a good reputation anymore without changing their ways. Reputation is anarchism's currency in a gift economy and what holds people together in a stateless political arena. Good reputation and you're "in", able to enjoy what others share; bad reputation and you're "out", left to live by your own means and without any right to individual property. As for forgiveness, this is only possible if and only if people who betray other people's trust change themselves for the better. The community also has a responsibility to assist those who betray people's trust to change themselves and accept them back when they have learnt their lesson. Cogiati (talk) 03:35, 17 July 2011 (UTC)

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