[linux-elitists] [ruben@mrbrklyn.com: Microsoft proposing FreeSoftware ban]

Seth David Schoen schoen@loyalty.org
Thu May 3 20:30:44 PDT 2001

Mr . Bad writes:

> >>>>> "SDS" == Seth David Schoen <schoen@loyalty.org> writes:
>     SDS> I agree, and every time somebody says "but the GPL needs
>     SDS> copyright to work" I think "only as long a proprietary
>     SDS> copyrights are honored".
> Yeah, the only way I can see it being a problem is that, in a world
> without copyright protection, someone might take a GPL'd program, and
> make changes to it, and distribute that changed software in binary
> form. Which, like, if it was proprietary commercial software, would
> get copied all over the place immediately.

Those changes, if they were particularly interesting, could be reverse
engineered.  When the _nature_ of the changes was described, someone
could re-implement them in the free version.

Uninteresting changes could just be ignored -- in this scenario
there's nothing wrong with proprietary software, in a certain sense.

> And if it was a trojan or something, it would be studiously
> avoided. After all, in a world without copyright enforcement, who
> would bother to hold back their source code? Only folks with bad code
> embedded in their binaries is who.

"Anyone who uses a C compiler must have something to hide!"

> Is there some other danger to Free Software from a complete
> disappearance of copyright? I don't think so.

I don't think so either -- if software patents and the DMCA disappear

Seth David Schoen <schoen@loyalty.org>  | And do not say, I will study when I
Temp.  http://www.loyalty.org/~schoen/  | have leisure; for perhaps you will
down:  http://www.loyalty.org/   (CAF)  | not have leisure.  -- Pirke Avot 2:5

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