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Re: [ba-unrev-talk] GPL: Socialist Agenda?

I'll take the bait.     (01)

On Wed, 25 Sep 2002, John Maloney wrote:    (02)

> (James) Gosling: There are all of these open-source licenses out there.
> They pretty much all have their own political agenda. Sun has it's own.
> The one we use for Java is really about compatibility. The GPL one is, I
> find, rather odd because it has this string socialist agenda that
> basically says intellectual property is bad. I think it's perfectly fine
> for people to say, "I want to give my stuff away for free." When it
> turns into, "Nobody else should be able to make profit off of
> intellectual property," I start to have a hard time with it. And the
> core of my hard time with it is it's sort of like a physics argument
> about conservation of energy. It takes an awful lot of energy to produce
> software. Somehow or other that has to be matched. The energy that comes
> out as software, something's got to go in-if only to pay the salaries of
> the people who are working on the software. And you can have all kinds
> of indirect models and all the rest of it, but somehow or other it has
> to happen. Thermal dynamics and energy conservation laws have been
> absolutely strong, and they're that way in economics as well.     (03)

I think Gosling is seeing an anti-intellectual property stance where
there isn't one.  As someone else has already said, the GPL uses
copyright law to support itself.    (04)

That said, I'm in favor of the GPL exactly because it restrains
downstreams developers from turning my goodwill contribution to the
commonweal into a profit generating system that benefits only them.    (05)

A lot of great software is written by people working in publicly
funded establishments. That stuff should be GPL'd. In my opinion, to
make it anything else is a kick to the head.    (06)

We can argue that publicly funded software development is a force for
market generation. That's true, it can be, but _I don't care_. I don't
want to see more markets that find their base in late stage capitalism.    (07)

So, in that sense I wouldn't say that the GPL has a socialist agenda,
but I would say that it has an anti-capitalist agenda and that's
great.    (08)

*whew* I'm glad I finally got that off my chest.     (09)

Chris Dent  <cdent@burningchrome.com>  http://www.burningchrome.com/~cdent/
"If you assume that there is an instinct for freedom, that there are
opportunities to change things, that hope is possible, then hope may be
justified, and a better world may be built. That's your choice." N.Chomsky    (010)