Re: [ox-en] non-commercial software lic
- From: "George Dafermos" <georgedafermos discover.org>
- Date: 19 May 2004 11:44:11 -0000
Sure, why not? I see no reason for software to carry restrictions on
its use, for a number of reasons:
1. Software is a tool, and tools by themselves are not good or bad,
right or wrong, desirable or undesirable. Many of us keep arguing
that the usage and/or dissemination of tools should be restricted to
what we consider ``desirable'' ends and persons. However if you
extrapolate a bit, that is exactly the kind of thinking that leads to
people-unfriendly laws like the infamous DMCA -- restrict usage of a
tool that can potentially be used to commit a ``crime'' in order to
stop that ``crime''.
funny you used the DRM analogy to make a point. I have used the very same analogy to make the opposite point. When Linus T. said he didn't mind the potential symbiosis of Linux and DRM and exclaimed "we're just engineers" my mind run to robert oppenheimer and his baby - the atomic bomb. it was oppenheimer the first who said that "we're just engineers".
As regards to what you claim about tools being natural, and what matters is how we use them since, as you say, "tools by themselves are not good or bad, right or wrong, desirable or undesirable", i suggest you read mcluhan. here's just a quote that might intrigue you enough to grab the book:
"In accepting an honorary degree from the University of Notre Dame a few years ago, General David Sarnoff made this statement: "We are too prone to make technological instruments the scapegoats for the sins of those who wield them. The products of modern science are not in themselves good or bad; it is the way they are used that determines their value." That is the voice of the current somnambulism. Suppose we were to say, "Apple pie is in itself neither good nor bad; it is the way it is used that determines its value." Or, "The smallpox virus is in itself neither good nor bad; it is the way it is used that determines its value." Again, "Firearms are in themselves neither good nor bad; it is the way they are used that determines their value." That is, if the slugs reach the right people firearms are good. If the TV tube fires the right ammunition at the right people it is good. I am not being perverse. There is simply nothing in the Sarnoff statement that will bear scrutiny, for it ignores the nature of the medium, of any and all media, in the true Narcissus style of one hypnotized by the amputation and extension of his own being in a new technical form. General Sarnoff went on to explain his attitude to the technology of print, saying that it was true that print caused much trash to circulate, but it had also disseminated the Bible and the thoughts of seers and philosophers. It has never occurred to General Sarnoff that any technology could do anything but add itself on to what we already are".
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