[Dclug] Open Source vs Free Software
dean at deanlandolt.com
Mon Sep 22 14:58:58 EDT 2008
On Thu, Sep 18, 2008 at 9:41 AM, Johnson, Steve (NIH/OD/ORS) [E] <
johnsons at vrp.ncrr.nih.gov> wrote:
> >> ...wrote to RMS...call it Freedom Software
> >> It's a bit hokey, isn't it? But then again, America thrives on hokum.
> Now, now. There is a germ of truth in the RMS message, especially as he
> originally propounded it.
> Any "History of Economic Thought" that I have ever seen has early on
> mention and some discussion of the "commons".
> (see online encyclopedia article for authoritative definition.)
> The commons was common grazing ground for villager's cattle, and there was
> legal status or regulation involved.
> Who knows, might have evolved some common law.
> Significantly, there was undoubtably a sense of community involved (a la
> the sociologists).
> Your chance to turn the notion of property (and the powdered wigs) on its
> But as the textbooks say (big surprise) there were problems and the
> solution only led so far, beyond which
> you needed to accept an orthodoxy, a set of initial assumptions.
> Parenthetically, reminds me of the hoopla that surrounded the LISP
> compiler, favorite of RMS and erstwhile favorite the MIT crowd.
> Of vast potential (Turing complete, complete computability) the LISP
> compiler offers relatively
> transparent logic - there is so little (like the hardware, IO, networking,
> timing, ie semantics) locked down.
> The LISP compiler attains real usefulness in theoretical studies or proofs
> in programming language type theory.
> Why RMS was able to salvage this sense of community I don't know.
> The "commons" is in one sense hokey, in that the textbooks are using a
> late 18th century example,
> which has the advantage of being close to the modern reader's experience.
> Scholarly discussion of Plato and Aristotle's politics shows that in the
> world this question is large and significant. They were forceful players
> back then.
> So my serious opinion is that the Free and Open Source Software are the
> to examine for decisions about property law. That to skip the software
> is to try to over leap the technology of modern mercantile practice.
> If nothing else, it is a question that requires finesse.
You aren't really implying there is even the slightest connection between
software and grazing land, are you? Between scarce and infinite goods?
Between real and imaginary property?
Apples and oranges.
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