1998-10-09 - Re: propose: `cypherpunks license’ (Re: Wanted: Twofish source code)

Header Data

From: Richard Stallman <rms@gnu.org>
To: rick@campbellcentral.org
Message Hash: 77c5100c8ee79f3c70f9261395b6ed52ee774c6cdb0a0c3e95d7cc54079f6f85
Message ID: <199810090025.UAA02286@psilocin.gnu.org>
Reply To: <199810071026.GAA20270@germs.dyn.ml.org>
UTC Datetime: 1998-10-09 00:55:59 UTC
Raw Date: Fri, 9 Oct 1998 08:55:59 +0800

Raw message

From: Richard Stallman <rms@gnu.org>
Date: Fri, 9 Oct 1998 08:55:59 +0800
To: rick@campbellcentral.org
Subject: Re: propose: `cypherpunks license' (Re: Wanted: Twofish source code)
In-Reply-To: <199810071026.GAA20270@germs.dyn.ml.org>
Message-ID: <199810090025.UAA02286@psilocin.gnu.org>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

    Public Domain status denotes more freedom than GPL.  It allows all of
    the freedom of GPL and in addition, it allows the freedom of making
    proprietary modifications.

Public domain gives person P the ability to make modified versions and
give users no freedom in using them.  The result is that people in
general have less freedom.

This might seem like a paradox: you give people "more freedom", but
they end up with less.  How can that be?  It has to do with stretching
the word "freedom" to include the ability to control other people.
That kind of "freedom" tends to leave other people with less freedom.
What happened with the X Window System illustrates this unambiguously
(see http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/x.html).

One way to avoid the paradox is to distinguish between freedom and
power.  Freedom is being able to decide your own activities and
choices that affect mainly you.  When someone can decide other
people's activities, or choices that affect mainly others, that is
power, not freedom.

With this definition, the paradox goes away.  Copyright is a power,
not a freedom.  Copyleft, by blocking this power, protects freedom.
The GNU GPL guarantees basic freedom for all users, which otherwise
they will tend to lose.