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Novellty Linux

everybody loves eric raymond episode 58 strip

The other day I woke up and realised: “holy crap I haven’t done a new ELER in weeks! I need to get my act together!”. That was back at the start of November. Let’s see if we can’t get this free software freak show back on the road.

Script help from the usual suspects: Roel, Louisa and Gianni.

49 replies on “Novellty Linux”

mattl, just mentioning “marketshare” and “Debian” in one line will probably spawn two months of debate on the Debian mailing-list, whether “marketshare” is evil or not ;))

Debian, being non-commercial, it’s impossible to quantify.

The two Debian systems I have at home, and the one at work, aren’t counted anywhere.

Linux kernel and all other GPL 2 software -> forked and licensed under GPL 3. Every point releases of the the GPL 2 projects are re-forked under the GPL 3. This is all done in a country where no software patents are allowed. Closed source software from other countries are licensed under GPL 3 and GNU Linux under the GPL 3 can finally takeover the world, or something.

> Linux kernel and all other GPL 2 software -> forked and licensed under GPL 3.

There’s a reason the FSF asks for the copyright of GNU projects to be assigned to the FSF.

Even if the top hundred kernel contributors wanted to do this (which is a laughably implausible level of solidarity from Linux kernel programmers, along with the opposite case being somewhat closer to true), they’d be set back by *years* rewriting the code from the remaining thousands of others who are

1) unwilling to relicense
2) uncontactable
3) dead

Mozilla’s license change was plagued by these problems, and they’d had only a few years of outside contributions. Just imagine fifteen years of copyright holders to wrangle.

Why are copy rights so controversial for most?

Why is it that most view software copyrights so controversial while nearly all people would not question the need for industrial copyrights? The answer is very simple. The computer has become ubiquitous for most citizens of so called first world countries. The result is that the means of producing applications are available to most which suggest that anyone with enough time and determination can create the next hit application, the next Photoshop or Microsoft Office. Copyrights prevent people from creating the next Super Mario game or adding additional features to a current closed source application. This (copyright) is merely an artificial limit imposed on people. Contrary to building your own car and selling it to people, the barrier to creating a new software application is very low. All that is needed is a computer which can nowadays be purchased for under $400 dollars. Open source software is the best example of the public owning the means of production. In the open source universe, software is not created for its possible exchange value but for the mere fun of it. Software is simply produced for it use value and nothing else even if the creator the software in question is the only one with the perceived need. The open source movement has shown us the possibilities of a scenario whereby the populace would own the means of production unencumbered by the limitations of the current economic system by the requirement of exchange value production. By using the open source model one quickly sees the possibilities of it being applied to other sector of production.

I think you mean patents. Copyright is usually accepted by everyone but the boing boing crowd. Copyright doesn’t generaly inhibit software, because as long as the code isn’t directly copied, then there are no real violations.

Yes, you’re right. Replace copyrights with patents in my last post. Copyrights are merely an extension of patents in that they do not cover the same amount of artificial property. Thank You

noclue, you have, um, no clue.

If you know that you’ve created an original work, you can be certain that you have not infringed anyone’s copyright, even if you manage to accidentally produce an identical text. You can never be sure that you haven’t infringed anyone’s patent. It has nothing to do with the “amount” of artificial property covered.

But that’s beside the point. Knowledge is what patents and copyrights represent or “defend” and nothing else. They transform knowledge into private property. Knowledge is a social product and should therefore be social “property”.

Copyright doesn’t “defend” or protect knowledge, it defends one exact implementation of it. If you wrote a book about horses, everything you wrote is protected by copyright, but that information you included about horses is NOT protected by said copyright. Copyright will protect your right to sell that book, without fear that someone else will reproduce it in exact word for word manner and resell it as their own. If you choose to give that book away for free, then you STILL have the benefit of copyright, protecting you from someone else who tried to claim authorship.

Since you only question my argument when applied to copyrights I will assume that you agree with me when it is applied to patents. As for copyrights, from my point of view they are forms of private property in the sense that a particular has control over a social product. I recently read a story about an open source project which attempts to recreate the latest Zelda game in 2D for the computer. Zelda is a copyrighted concept and Nintendo did not allow for its release (much like the Chrono tiger clone). The same applies to your example of the horse book. One cannot come up with an entirely new idea isolated from the past. All new ideas are based on our current knowledge (practice) hence why patents and to a lesser extend copyrights are forms of private property, a contradiction (the private result of social production).

We use the division of labour as a pre-text to create private property when the opposite should be happening.

I do somewhat agree with you when it comes to patents, however, I feel that your idea of created works being a social product is wrong. If I were to write a song, what right do you have to say that that it’s public property? Why shouldn’t I have say in who uses that song, and for what purpose?

“Why shouldn’t I have say in who uses that song, and for what purpose?”

Because your right to swing your fist ends an inch from my face, and the faces of those who happen to own a copy of whatever your created work is.

The default ethical position should always be that initiating the use of violence is wrong, and calling for the state to use force to prevent people non-violently sharing information should generally be considered wrong (if the information sharers are conspiring to commit crimes, then that’s a different story, of course).

Copyright used to be defended on the grounds that having a state-granted monopoly was evil, but a necessary evil for the production of copyrighted goods for the public to enjoy, and not because there was some natural self-evident right of the authors (or the people who hire them) to interfere with everyone else’s enjoyment of their property. And of course, copyright law is fairly low on the scale of evils committed by the state, so that made it easier to sell to the legislators of the day.

Trouble is, creative types make good propagandists, so we’re in the wave of a big campaign to make people forget about the aim of copyright law, precisely because the internet is putting the lie to the notion that exclusionary practices are necessary for the production of creative works. They used to be able to say things like ‘But how would software authors get paid, if people can just copy their stuff?’ but nowadays that can be answered by ‘Hey Linus/Richard/Eric/Theo/Red Hat/IBM/whoever, how do you manage to make a living by letting people copy your software for free?’. Hence there’s a need for some other argument that justifies paying rent to dead men for old music and Mickey Mouse, or censoring the entire world with DMCA-type laws to prevent people knowing how their DRM systems work. Hence the current wave of ‘authors have self-evident inalienable rights’ propaganda.

So the reason you maybe have a right to who uses your song is that it would be necessary if there was a music shortage that would be solved by granting you a monopoly so that you could afford to make more songs.

The reason you shouldn’t is that thanks to technology and 57 varieties of digital foo, we’re in the middle of an unprecedented glut of free music, software, video, and reading material on the internet these days, so there’s no compelling economic reason for you to have the right to use force to prevent your listeners doing anything, and a good ethical reason against it.

Hope this helps.

Your ethical position is flawed (or perhaps you were using symbolism?). There is no state sanctioned violence being used for the enforcement of copyright.

The intent of copyright may have originaly been for economic reasons, but it’s capabilities go far beyond money. Copyright can be used to protect the author even in freely distributal material. The GPL is one good example. If there was no copyright, then it would be legaly possible to fork FOSS code into closed, binary only projects and profit off of other’s hard work. Why does the creative commons license exist? If it’s purpose is to make everything under the sun freely available, why not just release everything under the public domain?

It’s easy to say that copyright works for these initiatives because they are “good and wholesome”, but there really isn’t that much of a difference between these and big business trying to keep some control over the works that they create. The problem isn’t an inherent flaw in copyrights, but in the matter in which they’re enforced. Do I disagree with the DMCA? Yes. Do I think that copyright lasts too long? Yes. I despise DRM, but it’s not exactly a legal initiative so much, as it’s a technology barrier which is doomed to fail. There are good reasons for copyright to exist. There doesn’t have to be any financial incentive.

Anonymous: of course “state-sanctioned violence” is used for the enforcement of copyright. People are sometimes put in jail or have property seized for “piracy”.

You’re not talking about your everyday filesharer here, these are pretty extreme cases. You’re also being pretty liberal about your definition of violence.

Bob Monkhouse or Alastair Stewart.

Definitely one or other, or possibly the progeny of their unholy intrigue.

Please, make the lame copyright/patent arguments stop! Go to slashdot if you want to have a pointless argument over whether Intellectual Property is immoral.

Backing up what the other guy was saying. The state is founded upon violence. It uses force to make people comply, that is violence, oh the police may not have to bring out the weapons to arrest someone who is sharing music or videos, but they are still using force, and if the person were not to comply, then it would step in to what the average person considers violence.

Josh, by that definition, the authors of novels are using violence when they threaten it against those who don’t like their novels.

Oh, give ‘m a break! It is Lent–the 12 weeks between Torvald’s birthday and Stallman’s! I’m sure everyone’s busy with…I dunno, something.

And a happy St. Hippolytus (the first Antipope) day to you.

Birthdays of other ELER appearances:

Chuck Norris – March 10, 1940
George W. Bush – July 6, 1946
rms – March 16, 1953
esr – December 4, 1957
Bruce Schneier – January 15, 1963
Hans – December 1963 or 1964
Linus – December 28, 1969
Mark Shuttleworth – September 17, 1973
Rob “CmdTaco” Malda – May 10, 1976
Gervase Markham – June 1978
Goatse Guy – unknown
John “maddog” Hall – unknown
John Dvorak – unknown
Cathy Raymond – unknown

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