[linux-elitists] (no subject)

Seth David Schoen schoen@loyalty.org
Fri May 4 08:54:49 PDT 2001

Ruben@mrbrklyn.com writes:

> The purpose of the GPL is to guarantee a historical record of software
> design for future examination.
> Under the system you describe, closed software would be without ability to
> reverse engineer within a generation.
> Publication, Peer Review, and hypothesis testing is the  key to ALL
> scintific engineering.
> Cloak and Dagger Experiementation, which is what closed software is, will
> result in a new dark ages.....

People who publish proprietary software are just engaging in
experimentation which they mean to keep private.  While this is
unfortunate, they're entitled to do that.

The real problem is when people can hinder and even attack the
scientific process.  There, they are not just outside of the
community, but actively hurting it.

An attempt at a numerical argument: copyright law suppresses
reverse engineering and publication in computer programming _far_ more
often than it compels it (via copyleft).  We're told that free
software practices were common, and were to some extent even the norm,
before software was copyrightable.  Hackers like Richard Stallman, as
far as I know, opposed making software copyrightable in the first
place.  With an active community promoting it, free software should do
even better in the future without copyright.

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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