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[Discuss] Govt Source Code Policy

On 04/07/16 11:23, Mike Small wrote:
> IngeGNUe <ingegnue at> writes:
>>> Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its
>>> victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under
>>> robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's
>>> cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated;
>>> but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end
>>> for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be
>>> more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell
>>> of earth. This very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be
>>> "cured" against one's will and cured of states which we may not regard
>>> as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the
>>> age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants,
>>> imbeciles, and domestic animals.
>> Is that a quote from like, John Stuart Mill? So, in other words a despot
>> with good intentions is worse than bad intentions for the whole of the
>> population? In any case, libre-lovers aren't despotic, the free software
>> world is more of a lightly-regulated market.
> It's a nice quote but I agree. Free software advocates could only wish
> to have this kind of power now or in the foreseeable future. I haven't
> understood the thread, not seeing how it is that the U.S. government now
> can hold copyright on its works and thus it be possible for them to use
> the GPL.  But even if they did, it's a fairly small thing IMO. The
> slippery sloop would have to have superconducting magnets installed to
> get to this dystopia Richard invokes via C.S. Lewis.


> But instead suppose copyleft terms or some other way of ensuring each
> recipient of software has rms's four freedoms were mandated by law for
> all software in the country. Plainly this doesn't fit with the present
> majority will, since not even 50% of this linux user group here seems
> all that enthusiastic about copyleft. Do you or Greg have another
> philosopher you'd invoke to support the argument that such a law is
> justifiable without being popular? Or do you not think so.

Broadly, no I don't think a law is justifiable if it isn't popular. At
the same time, I also recognize that popularity doesn't necessarily lead
to justice or correctness. So there's a tension there.

But what I can say is that I think the government in its role as a
public institution should, befitting its role, share its code (public
property) publicly, but also that it should have the right to defend its
code from unexpected privatization. Corporations should be forced to buy
rights to proprietize said code through the same process of
privatization as they might purchase a road.

There may be a better license that no one has ever thought about, which
will reflect the needs of the public, but so far the GPL looks to me to
be that.

The main disagreement between the said 50% who oppose copyleft and the
50% who support it seems to be whether the commons should be actively
defended from takeover.

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