[UPHPU] open source software and freedom

Benjamin Schmuhl schmuhl at gmail.com
Mon Jun 6 13:41:09 MDT 2005

I don't usually respond to stuff like this, but it seems that sensible 
rationale has been under-represented in this thread.

/me does not don flame suit as me expects none.

Lonnie Olson wrote:

> Any choice to limit your  deserved rights is a bad one. 

And who determines our "deserved rights"?  What about the rights of the 
producer of a product?  This kind of argument is communistic and overly 

> It is correct that Zend has the legal ability to  restrict your 
> rights.  This is unfortunate that our legal system  allows this 
> un-ethical practice. 


> Long ago people accepted fewer Freedoms for the same reasons  
> (slavery).  After people started to learn about their moral rights,  
> and began to choose freedom, it started the long, difficult struggle  
> to achieving freedom.  Non-Free software is a deeply entrenched state  
> of mind currently.  Organizations like the FSF, EFF, and people like  
> me are just trying to educate people about their moral rights.

Any comparison between software and slavery is obtuse and belittling to 
everyone who regrets the ravages slavery induced on our nation.  You 
comments have only served to inflame and over-contrast (as all good 
propaganda does).  Moral rights are not learned or taught.  They are 
inherent -- this is nothing new.  Good government supports laws that 
protect the rights of all its citizens, not just those that feel they 
should get 'More for Free'.  I will use closed-source software when it 
suits me, and all others should be free to do so, for by so doing they 
no more limit their 'moral freedoms' than by buying a desk or making a 
phone call.  Legally using the work of others does not impact my 
freedoms at all, for I am free to do so.  An even better freedom is that 
I can write software that is closed-source and make a living.  To insist 
that we, as a community, should only support open-source (which few can 
or will) is synonymous with the following laughably-silly proposals:
- Boycotting Coca-Cola for not releasing their recipe so that we can 
experiment and improve it to our tastes.
- Buying only automobiles with patent-free parts so that we are free to 
manufacture those parts to share with our friends or sell to others.
- Requiring filmmakers to provide 3D environment, map and path files 
sufficient to recast and rewrite any part of their film to suit our 
fancies.  (Hey, now that might be a good idea...)

You have spun a request for insights on Zend Studio into an opportunity 
to spread your opinion on other (although slightly-related) matters.  I 
hope that the original poster will feel like he/she may post again 
without igniting an off-topic discussion that never really answers their 
question.  Other than that, this has been an intellectually-stimulating 
debate and I encourage (even though they are often off-topic) this type 
of civilized, flame-retardant discussion in the future.  Thanks, Lonnie!

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