[Fsf-friends] Software Freedom Day

Ramanraj K ramanraj.k@gmail.com
Wed Sep 14 09:55:55 IST 2005

On 9/12/05, Sriram N <sriramx_2000@yahoo.com> wrote: 

> --- Ramanraj K <ramanraj.k@gmail.com> wrote:
> > It struck me that "Software Freedom" may mean several things,
> > including the idea that people have the freedom to lawfully acquire
> > and use any software they like.
> Could you elaborate or rephrase ? Are you saying that at present people are not
> allowed to to acquire and use any software they like ? 

"Anybody who tells me I can't use a program because it's not open
source, go s**k on rms. I'm not interested. 99% of that I run tends to
be open source, but that's _my_ choice, dammit."[#1]

Is that loud and clear?

Now, on to [#2]:
# 2.6.<odd>: still a stable kernel, but accept bigger changes leading
up to it (timeframe: a month or two).
# 2.<odd>.x: aim for big changes that may destabilize the kernel for
several releases (timeframe: a year or two)
# <odd>.x.x: Linus went crazy, broke absolutely _everything_, and
rewrote the kernel to be a microkernel using a special message-passing
version of Visual Basic. (timeframe: "we expect that he will be
released from the mental institution in a decade or two").

The last line is probably a dig on HURD design more than anything
else, but it is also prophetic.  To break absolutely _everything_, one
does not have to rewrite the kernel to be a microkernel using a
special message-passing version of VB: it could be done with just a
few messages in plain English

http://linux.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=05/08/15/2149225&from=rss reported:
Posted by ScuttleMonkey on Mon Aug 15, '05 08:49 PM
from the decease-and-resist dept.
robyannetta writes "Australian companies providing Linux products and
services may soon have to pay up to $A5000 a year to licence the
operating system name (warning: Registration Required), if the patents
agency IP Australia grants a trademark application it is reviewing.
About 90 companies with products, services or websites containing the
word "Linux" recently received letters of demand from Perth lawyer
Jeremy Malcolm. Acting for user group Linux Australia Inc, he asks
recipients to sign statements saying their use of the word is subject
to the group's licence agreement, which has fees of $A200 to $A5000
under a successful trademark application."

It is very demoralizing hear that people have been asked to pay
licence fees for using the mere name of GPLed software, particularly
when Linux has been used as a generic name for an operating system,
and to give credit to Linus, such systems were also called GNU/Linux,
for nearly a decade now.

Linus has been a god figure in the free software community and he is
forthright on many issues.  But, if people have been asked to pay a
licence fees for merely calling the operating system by its name,
Linus is no different from proprietary software entities.  Once free
software developers and philosophers get even with traders and start
sqabbling,  it is easy to see they are no less commercial than others.
 Quote [#2] is from a new set of version naming rules that Linus
Torvalds was planning recently, and the present fracas over using
"Linux" itself is quite odd ;)  If Linus on his own accord accepts
Linux as a generic name and nips this development in its bud, we may
have better Software Freedom Days ahead.

Anyway, recognising Software Freedom,  makes it easier to accept
licensing conditions of all hues, without getting argumentative or
judgmental about whether licence A stands on a higher moral ground
than licence B.  Software Freedom should be about respecting the
judgement of the developers and users as to the level of licensing
terms they are comfortable with.

Participation by educational institutions and governments may bring in
better discipline and enjoyment of Software Freedom. If any policing
is required, it is with regard to fixing fair price for software
packages on the basis of development costs and practices, and some
statutory control may be of use.

Regardless of individual disputes over petty things, a wealth of free
software is already available for public use. The GNU project started
out with noble objectives, and this could be an opportunity to promote
the GNU Project ideals, and spur the development efforts for HURD,
which aims to be an ultimate in operating systems with no sys limits. 
Many people in India are taking serious interest in free software, and
 if Software Freedom is highlighted, it would enable people to take a
deeper interest in Free Software without feeling obliged or
threatended to use only Free Software.  "Teach Yourself Emacs in 24
Hours book" by Jesper Pedersen devotes one hour to using Emacs in
Microsoft Windows. There could be no harm, if on Software Freedom Day,
as many software products and developers get invited, so that  more
users participate and get a chance to get their hands dirty with Free
Software and savour the ultimate in Software Freedom, thorns et al.

Like it is said, feel free to write, but also feel free to ignore.

Bye :)

-Ramanraj K

[#1] Linus Torvalds quoted from
[#2] Linus Torvalds, quoted from http://kerneltrap.org/node/4793
Regardless of individual disputes over petty things, a wealth of free
software is already available for public use.

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