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Stallman Calls Valve Games on Linux ‘Unethical’


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#121 ichi

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Posted 06 August 2012 - 22:47

Except your analogy falls apart when you remember that code is not a sentient being


Being sentient has nothing to do with freedom. GPL code is effectively free from closure and relicensing under non GPL-compatible licenses.

and the focus is on the freedom of the people around it


And there you have the exact reason why you are unable to understand the GPL.

Hehehehehe.

You said you've never claimed the GPL is not restrictive, however you just said in the above quote that the user gets the additional benefit of the derivative works without restrictions.

Except since the GPL is restrictive as you have so stated, the user is not getting the derivative works without retrictions...

Thus proving the GPL is non-free.


GPL is restrictive for distributors, non restrictive for users.

Do I have to break every little detail down for you?


#122 Athernar

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Posted 06 August 2012 - 23:05

GPL is restrictive for distributors, non restrictive for users.

Do I have to break every little detail down for you?


The benefit of free software is that the user has the freedom to become the distributor (or in truly free software, the right not to), they are inseperable. The user / distributor divide is a result of the closed-source paradigm, you should know this.

#123 +Majesticmerc

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Posted 06 August 2012 - 23:16

Except your analogy falls apart when you remember that code is not a sentient being and the focus is on the freedom of the people around it, not protecting the code as if you're going to hurt it's feelings.

So no, the GPL is non-free because it cares nothing for the freedom of the individual, only an invented, imaginary context where the code is some form of right-bearing entity.

Sort of like theism actually.


It doesn't matter whether or not the software has feelings. The GPL takes 'the software' to be a singular entity, and allowing the code to be re-closed makes the code as originally written less available when it's distributed (bear in mind that the GPL's derivatives clauses only apply when distributing).

Like I keep saying, the FSF and Stallman focus on the software, not the developer, and ensuring that the code continues to be freely distributed without restriction. It has little to do with the person that writes the code.

Look I'm not trying to annoy anyone so I'm just gonna let this go.

#124 ichi

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Posted 06 August 2012 - 23:27

The benefit of free software is that the user has the freedom to become the distributor (or in truly free software, the right not to), they are inseperable. The user / distributor divide is a result of the closed-source paradigm, you should know this.


And with GPL the user not only has the freedom to become a distributor but also the guarantee that he will always be able to do so at every time he wants and in any stage of development of the piece of software he's using.

To achieve that, restrictions are applied to distribution so your right to distribute doesn't restrict other's. The direct effect of those restrictions is that the software is always free, hence Free Software.


As I explained before this has an obvious advantage in collaborative projects where the collaborating entities (eg. companies) don't need to bother about whether thay can trust each other or not: the license guarantees that all of them will benefit exactly the same from their common work.

#125 Athernar

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Posted 07 August 2012 - 01:13

And with GPL the user not only has the freedom to become a distributor but also the guarantee that he will always be able to do so at every time he wants and in any stage of development of the piece of software he's using.

To achieve that, restrictions are applied to distribution so your right to distribute doesn't restrict other's. The direct effect of those restrictions is that the software is always free, hence Free Software.


This has already been covered. You're just looping back over yourself now.

The restrictions make the GPL non-free, with an illusion of freedom that is created by the imposition of external interests over the individual's freedom.

#126 Lagg

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Posted 07 August 2012 - 02:34

Let me tell a little story. I am an occasional reader of Neowin since I first came across it some years ago when announcements caught my eye, but this is a topic I came across that I am particularly passionate about and actually motivated me to register. Now, I am not going to reinforce Athernar's argument because I think he's absolutely right, and trying to say anything about the technical aspects of the license would just be redundant. It is restrictive (and therefore not free) by nature, and it is one of the reasons next to proprietary licenses that the term "permissive license" is in use now a days.

Now, back when rms (I affectionately referred to him as this until I stopped believing he was worthy of it) was pushing at full force and making some waves in the software community, I was one of the many people that saw him as a hero. And I still think he is in some ways, because the beautiful system we have here in our hacker communities wouldn't exist without the efforts of him and esr. Considering that, I was more than willing to look past some of his more... Dis-likable habits. He isn't a very sanitary and well kempt man, and despite the ridiculousness of it and the irony of this coming from someone that used to have long hair and a beard. People need not waste their time if the man delivering a message, regardless of its truth cannot summon the energy to trim and clean himself the first thing people will see is a lazy man and expect the message that is delivered to be lazy as well. So they move on, and this behavior is not an exception but the rule. I will not judge people harshly for this because the assumptions are natural.

Anyway, I strongly disagree with Majestic or whoever it was that said that a person who is alienated by one man did not bother to learn the message. The fact that I am writing this story and here disproves that, because if there is a message that Richard is putting across I (at the time) saw it and for years was (frequently still, depending on the project) involved with various GPL and LGPL licensed projects and free software was a dream for me, for lack of better words. I was tolerable of Stallman's tendency to reference and parody religious dogma and things like that (i.e. Saint Ignucious, editor virgins, etc.) because it was what it was, parody. I even tolerated his reference to terms that only a religious person would acknowledge in serious papers.

What alienated me was his persistence with this, after a while it turned into satire, and then annoying dogma in itself that Richard seemed to take seriously. It was no longer funny to me, and he has done this to people and companies I genuinely admire and respect. He ironically made me see the fundamental flaws in the GPL licenses by his preaching. If we make really high level abstractions like most people in this thread, save Athernar and a few others. We could even say that his attitude has turned the GPL itself into some kind of dogma. The attitudes and behavior of certain individuals in this thread seems to reinforce my thoughts here and possibly dangerous decision to call it a dogma.

I must again emphasize that I take my software and heroes of it such as esr, dmr, and so forth seriously. The realization was not a simple or easy one for me, I'm too manly to say I was hurt by it. But that's exactly how I was affected. Richard was no longer a good leader and even before people were making claims that he is now more of a harm to the free software communities than not I knew this. I will admit that I'm generally not a forgiving man, but this was one of my exceptions. But his weird and uncomfortable preaching disappointed me time and time again. So yes, it is definitely possible to be alienated by one man due to his attitude, appearance, and behavior. Regardless of the truth of the message in question. We're talking years here, I must remind you. Not months or days. I understand some of you are youngsters to the world of free software so the scale of time I'm talking about here might be hard to grasp, and it didn't help that during this time Richard's idea of freedom was hard to understand, and dare I say changing.

Additionally, it needs to be said but I know people aren't saying it because of the usual planned response of the initiator: Stop with the strawman arguments please. Freedom to remove freedom is a long used paradox, and a silly one because it just doesn't work that way, stop trying to force what constitutes hyperbole. It was already said hyperbole is hyperbole, stop using buzzwords where they either are obvious, unneeded, or just don't make sense. As hackers or potential hackers you should all know that forcing the wrong solution to a problem that will only exasperate it is futile and unrewarding.

Furthermore, as far as the nature of tools provided by companies to work with their system. Yes releasing the code to the engine itself and all the tools will always be the most optimal solution, but in the real world the usefulness and expansiveness of these tools cannot be discarded as "basic". Valve for example provides things such as a project manager for making mods or complete Source games, the Source filmmaker, the Hammer map editor, HLMV, and other things that I have used personally in the past but currently can't remember. Given the creativeness and success of some third party Source games, these are things that need to be acknowledged and not dismissed as "basic".

Richard does not investigate these things himself, and has his assistant(s) who have their own bias and interpretation of the message do the research for him and draft notes, and given my experience with this and first hand knowledge of things such as his .emacs, filled with macro table rows that he pastes in his mails. Those macros and other contents of his machine is both a different story and not my business to post. Since I still do respect his privacy and always will, regardless of my hurt or anger towards him. Though I'm deviating from the topic and I apologize for that. I have more to say, but chances are this isn't continued. I keep mostly quiet about my past experiences with Richard, the FSF, and GNU, but I occasionally have stories to tell. I will now post the obligatory note that I currently only use permissive licenses (ISC is my favorite at the moment) in my projects. But some old ones out there that may or may not be maintained still use the GPL and will not change based on the fact that the authors may not want it and I will not insult them by forcing my realizations on them.

#127 Glassed Silver

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Posted 07 August 2012 - 02:38

Here's a video worth watching somewhat related to the topic:

http://www.jupiterbr...-gnulas-s20e10/


Glassed Silver:win

#128 ichi

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Posted 07 August 2012 - 06:26

This has already been covered. You're just looping back over yourself now.

The restrictions make the GPL non-free, with an illusion of freedom that is created by the imposition of external interests over the individual's freedom.


Of course I'm looping: I'm having to break the same simple concepts for you over and over when the best rebuttal you can come up with is "but distributors aren't free" and some gibberish about slavery.

Let me ask you something: won't you be by any chance one of those BSD supporters that go all angry over Linux devs that relicense BSD code, right?

And while we are at it let me ask you another question: do you think that Linux contributors are enslaved? And if so, why did they choose to contribute to Linux and not any of the different BSD variants?

#129 +Majesticmerc

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Posted 07 August 2012 - 12:06

<snipped for brevity>


Insightful, you should post more often :).

I just want to point out that my position on the GPL aligns with both your and Athernars. I don't like it because I don't want to impose restrictions on developers (rather than forcing the code to remain available through all it's iterations), and I see it as a vain attempt to keep the hacker ethos alive by shoving it down people's throats. Personally, I've generally used Creative Commons Attribution (i.e. do what you want, but give me credit where it's due). The free-est license of all with regard to derivative rights is obviously public domain. I was simply trying to explain how the GPL can be perceived as a free license. It uses the same definitions intellectual property as the media organisations do (i.e. copies are still the original product). Personally I see that as bad, but I see it. Other licenses that offer the developer more freedoms do not look at it this way, and consider all the original code, as part of the derived works. It's a fundamental difference that many people don't get. I don't really see what I say as being a strawman argument, but simply a different interpretation of how "software freedom" is described.

Anyway, I was never looking to start all this bickering about the intricacies of the GPL. My initial point was, that regardless of the man himself, the ideas he stands by are valid. Regardless of how socially retarded he is, the ideas behind making source code available and allowing the user to use the software however they want are noble and beneficial for the user, but make a profitable software market difficult (companies like Redhat being the exception rather than the rule), this is where most people (myself included) start distancing themselves from free software ideals, and rightly so.

I agree entirely that the guy is a bad role model for the FOSS movement, because of everything you describe, but I don't think there's anyone here that would disagree that he stands for noble ideals. The things he discuss, like the Valve implementing DRM on Linux, are concerns for free software (DRM exists solely to take freedom from the user), but again people reject FOSS ideas because of who it is that says them. If you look at the underlying point, then he's right. You don't have to agree with his views, or even listen to the guy, but as long as you know the ideas his ranting stems from, you can see where he's coming from.

Honestly I don't pay enough attention to RMS to read his preaching, simply when his discussion makes it into my new feed (like this time) exactly because of the problems you describe, but that doesn't mean that I don't listen to the general viewpoint he tries to get across. I admit that I'm not entirely a "free software forever" preacher, I take the bits of the FOSS manifesto that I like and disregard the rest.

One issue with your point though:

Anyway, I strongly disagree with Majestic or whoever it was that said that a person who is alienated by one man did not bother to learn the message.


That wasn't what I meant at all. I meant that a person who chooses not to learn about free software and what it means because of the appearance of one man is ignorant. Hate the player, not the game. People that don't want to associate themselves with free software because of the rantings of one man are needlessly limiting their options. It's also hypocritical since there are plenty of undesirable people that write proprietary software too (I know from experience), so by that logic those people shouldn't be using software at all.

#130 Athernar

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Posted 07 August 2012 - 15:51

Of course I'm looping: I'm having to break the same simple concepts for you over and over when the best rebuttal you can come up with is "but distributors aren't free" and some gibberish about slavery.


You keep repeating yourself and claiming I don't understand, when I've more than proven I fully understand the idea behind the GPL, I just don't agree and have proven in this thread that the GPL is a non-free license by standard definitions. (I couldn't care less about what Stallman's proprietary definitions are)

You're on the exact same level as a theist in a religion debate at this point, I can lay out all the various points about evolution and the age of the earth, or pick apart morality; but all you're ever going to do is repeat "GOD EXISTS GOD EXISTS GOD EXISTS GOD EXISTS" until I stop challenging your viewpoint.

Let me ask you something: won't you be by any chance one of those BSD supporters that go all angry over Linux devs that relicense BSD code, right?


No I'm not, but I'll answer your strawman anyway. Taking a permissively licensed work and simply re-licensing it under the GPL without any modification is pretty damn scummy.

It may certainly be perfectly permissable thanks to the freedom a permissive license grants, but it's still a disgustingly fanatical, ignorant thing to do.

But then again, that's all part of freedom isn't it? You've got to let the bad guys have access too. Just another point that proves that the GPL is non-free.

And while we are at it let me ask you another question: do you think that Linux contributors are enslaved? And if so, why did they choose to contribute to Linux and not any of the different BSD variants?


The irony of such a question is amusing. Allow me to answer your question with a question.

Why are the majority of games Windows only?

And do I think Linux contributors are enslaved? That depends on what you mean by Linux.

#131 ichi

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Posted 07 August 2012 - 19:12

You keep repeating yourself and claiming I don't understand, when I've more than proven I fully understand the idea behind the GPL,


Really? I don't think so.

I just don't agree


Fair enough.

and have proven in this thread that the GPL is a non-free license by standard definitions. (I couldn't care less about what Stallman's proprietary definitions are)


As you clearly stated earlier, the reason you think that is because in your opinion "the focus is on the developers".
So you haven't provided more proof than your opinion, but still I'm not arguing the label you might want to stick on the license as I couldn't care less about that. What I've been arguing are the slavery and "illusion of freedom" gibberish.

You're on the exact same level as a theist in a religion debate at this point, I can lay out all the various points about evolution and the age of the earth, or pick apart morality; but all you're ever going to do is repeat "GOD EXISTS GOD EXISTS GOD EXISTS GOD EXISTS" until I stop challenging your viewpoint.


That's funny because the only single points you have been raising are the "but the distributors...", "slavery" and "illusion of freedom" mantra.

No I'm not, but I'll answer your strawman anyway. Taking a permissively licensed work and simply re-licensing it under the GPL without any modification is pretty damn scummy.

It may certainly be perfectly permissable thanks to the freedom a permissive license grants, but it's still a disgustingly fanatical, ignorant thing to do.

But then again, that's all part of freedom isn't it? You've got to let the bad guys have access too. Just another point that proves that the GPL is non-free.


How is it scummy when that's the whole point of the BSD and the difference that you keep bringing up as a "holier than thou" virtue?
If you don't want devs to relicense your code, why are you using a license that explicitly allows that?

The irony of such a question is amusing. Allow me to answer your question with a question.

Why are the majority of games Windows only?

And do I think Linux contributors are enslaved? That depends on what you mean by Linux.


The majority of computer games are Windows only because that's where most users play.

But I'm talking about kernel contributors anyway, so again: if GPL enslaves devs, why are they choosing to contribute to Linux and not BSD?

#132 M_Lyons10

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Posted 07 August 2012 - 19:15

Meh, I'm all for open rights and whatnot but people like this guy are WAY too anal about it.
Great if something's open source and free to all but it's not a viable business model.


Agreed. Honestly. If your option is to have these games or software on your computer or not have them supported, which one would you choose? I disagree entirely with DRM installed when you play a CD as Sony did, or DRM that's there just for the sake of being there, but this is a little bit different. For starters, I believe they update this regularly so it should be less of a security risk, and for second, it's essentially policing a service.

#133 Athernar

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Posted 07 August 2012 - 20:37

Really? I don't think so.


You think wrong then.

As you clearly stated earlier, the reason you think that is because in your opinion "the focus is on the developers".
So you haven't provided more proof than your opinion, but still I'm not arguing the label you might want to stick on the license as I couldn't care less about that. What I've been arguing are the slavery and "illusion of freedom" gibberish.


The label I want to stick? It's not a label, it's a simple fact. Deal with it.

You've been sitting here trying to argue that the GPL counts as free software when it clearly it is not, don't try and backpedal because you know you're wrong.

That's funny because the only single points you have been raising are the "but the distributors...", "slavery" and "illusion of freedom" mantra.


I'm sorry if the truth is too much for you to handle. The cognitive dissonance must be pretty painful for you.

How is it scummy when that's the whole point of the BSD and the difference that you keep bringing up as a "holier than thou" virtue?
If you don't want devs to relicense your code, why are you using a license that explicitly allows that?


It's scummy because it's bad manners. No different than someone closing the code of a derivative.

Just because you have the right to do something, does not mean you should do it. Come on ichi, this is basic stuff here. We're talking childhood 101 here.

I may not want devs personally to relicense my code or to close the source of a derivative, but that is a consequence of embracing freedom. Are you so blind to the real definition of freedom you cannot see this?

The majority of computer games are Windows only because that's where most users play.

But I'm talking about kernel contributors anyway, so again: if GPL enslaves devs, why are they choosing to contribute to Linux and not BSD?


Congratulations on answering your own question.

#134 ichi

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Posted 08 August 2012 - 07:27

You think wrong then.


:rolleyes:

The label I want to stick? It's not a label, it's a simple fact. Deal with it.

You've been sitting here trying to argue that the GPL counts as free software when it clearly it is not, don't try and backpedal because you know you're wrong.


I'll put it short and clear because you seem to be utterly confused:

-I don't care if you don't consider GPL to be a "free license". I don't agree with your opinion on that, but I take it as just that, an opinion, and that's not what I've been arguing about (since you seem to be impervious to the concept and value of software itself being free it would be pointless arguing with you anyway, it's like talking to a wall). Go back and re-read my posts.
-You are perfectly entitled to not liking the GPL. Again that's up to who's freedom you value, and since (as you stated before) your focus in on distributors and you don't see value in code itself being free, it's completely reasonable that you prefer BSD-style licenses.
-What I take issue with is all the nonsense about slavery and deception, using Stallman's level rethoric.


I'm sorry if the truth is too much for you to handle. The cognitive dissonance must be pretty painful for you.


Cute :laugh: Well, it's quite funny how you fall to the same level of bull**** rethoric as Stallman when demonizing a license you don't agree with.

It's scummy because it's bad manners. No different than someone closing the code of a derivative.

Just because you have the right to do something, does not mean you should do it. Come on ichi, this is basic stuff here. We're talking childhood 101 here.

I may not want devs personally to relicense my code or to close the source of a derivative, but that is a consequence of embracing freedom. Are you so blind to the real definition of freedom you cannot see this?


Are you so fanatic that you have to look down on everyone who doesn't agree with your own values?

What's the point of freedom if you are goint to bitch about what other people do with it? That comes as quite hypocritical, you are complaining about people doing exactly the only single thing BSD allows that GPL does not.
You can't have your cake and eat it too.

The usual argument of BSD supporters is that it doesn't matter if someone takes your source and closes it because your original source still remains free, so why do you care if someone takes a BSD source and distributes it under a license that better fits other use cases? Because that's they whole reason of re-licensing it under the GPL.

As I said above, it's ironic how your way of vilifying ideas you don't agree with turns to be so close to Stallman's :D


Congratulations on answering your own question.


Nice try at dodging it.

You would think that, say, Oracle would have released Unbreakable BSD instead of Unbreakable Linux (considering that the whole point of the distro was just running their own proprietary DB) if they felt they were being "enslaved" by the license. And by releasing a BSD OS they'd also submit their contributions to BSD and not to the Linux kernel, again if only to not be "enslaved".

#135 ichi

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Posted 08 August 2012 - 08:59

You've been sitting here trying to argue that the GPL counts as free software when it clearly it is not.


By the way, I take you actually meant "free license" and not "free software", because GPL licensed code is free software by the very definition of the Free Software term.



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