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Re: [ox-en] non-commercial software lic

On Mon, May 17, 2004 at 04:56:38PM [PHONE NUMBER REMOVED], august wrote:
There are plenty of licenses that have non-commercial use
clauses. They are not Free Software or Open Source licenses of course.

yes they are.  I guess that depends in how "free" you want to be in
interpreting freeness.

Repeating the term in different contexts will make it meaningless. Of
course, this may be exactly the point you are trying to prove because
you think it already is a meaningless term. Others have made that

I'm using the term "Free Software," (capitalized), to refer to
something that has a very clear and fixed definition.

I'm not trying to redefine the word "free" or "freedom" here in any
expansive or meaningful way. I'm trying to refer to a social movement
called "Free Software" set of creating software that provide a certain
clearly defined set of "freedoms."

Another is that they are a slippery slope. 

what do you mean by a slippery sqlope?

The slippery slope is that once you start discriminating against
fields of endeavor or groups of users, you open up the possibility of
discrimination by other groups against groups you'd rather not keep on
the outside through (mis)use of your own legal tools and those of others.

Does that mean that someone is "free" to use freesoftware to make a
destructive virus?  or free to use it to spy illegally on other
people's communications?  or free to use it to guide scud missiles
at innocent people?

It means that the work to keep people from doing these things has no
place in the text of a Free Software license. As I've said before on
this list, I don't think this means that all of these things are now
OK or that software developers should not attempt to write these types
of use out of their software. It just means that for a number of
reasons -- some pragmatic, some philosophical and some both -- I don't
believe that the text of the license is the place to do this.

The illusion, I think, is that the software is neutral, that the
technology is neutral.  I just can't see it like that any more.

I don't see it that way either.

let's take my motion tracking example again.  jo schmoe who invents
it, has nowhere near the influence of the US military or local
police.  the disadvantages are already set.

That's a decent point. That's one reason I don't work on motion
tracking systems. We get to pick or projects after all.

Any other free-software programmers thinking along that

There's a contradiction in that statement because if programmers
were doing software that barred non-commercial use, they wouldn't
be doing free software.

again, this is your non-free interpretation of freeness.

I'm sorry I forgot to capitalize "Free Software" back there. I'm
talking about "Free" as defined "Free Software," and you're talking
about "free" and "non-free" in some other sense I'm not sure I

the main points for me are:

1. Whether one should/could introduce ethical bindings into free
software, and how?

I think this is an interesting question and it's one I've done a lot
of thinking about. I think the answer lies in the nature of the
programs and projects people work on and the social cultivation of
ethics within Free Software communities.

2. Where to center control?  all lics, even the GPL, are about
control.  Maybe, the best first step isn't to realease so much
control to groups that already have a lot of power.  Even on free
radio in europe, you are not allowed say anything you desire. there
are regulations that prohibit hate speach, which essentially protect
individuals and groups who don't have the advantages of a

3. how to get production to be funded?  if a commercial venture uses
or distributes a free software, I think it could be an interesting
step to have them legally bound to contribute to that production.

What you are talking about here is another, parallel software
development movement, not Free Software. That's not necessarily a bad
thing, although I think I will argue that it would be eventually.


Benjamin Mako Hill

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