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Re: On the good neutrality of free software

From: Lorenzo L. Ancora
Subject: Re: On the good neutrality of free software
Date: Wed, 25 Aug 2021 20:59:14 +0000
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 10.0; rv:78.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/78.0

David Hedlund <>:

A side-note about the legality, there are license exceptions for GNU
GPL-based licenses[...]
Sure, but I honestly can't understand what this has to do with the thread. In the case discussed, editing the license is useless.

It is simply that, in my opinion, the FSD should reject programs made by developers who have political and not scientific/economic/technological goals. I see accepting their products as a form of corruption or at least strong incoherence, regardless of the license.

Remaining truthful to your ideals is a concept that goes beyond free and non-free. Your ideals are (or at least should be) to support the free software community and that also requires protecting its reputation and preventing it from being exploited for unrelated endings.

Quiliro <>:

I think that every action is political and non-neutral.  The only way
something can be non-political and neutral is that it is accepted by all
involved parties.  Taking a neutral position otherwise is favouring the
most powerful party.  So it is also partisian, non-neutral and
political.  Advocating free software is political and partisian
(non-neutral) because it decides based on policies and favours one party
(free software distributors) over others (non-free software
distributors).  Deciding not to criticize China or to block Nazi
propaganda are both equally political and definitively partisian.

If an action results in the good of the majority of the community then it is ethically correct, otherwise it isn't.

Self-control is the keystone of civility and the obvious solution to your dilemma is to simply stay professional, literally stay true to the developer's role, for the benefit of the majority.

Matter aside, in reality advocating free software won't lead to the demise of non-free software, because it creates competition and allow for the uncontrolled diffusion of algorithmic knowledge. Nobody escapes the laws of economy. However, it is always nice to "fight naively for some good ideals": there are those who fight to bury non-free software for the good of the few and those who fight to support free software for the good of the many. Two ways of seeing the world of equal dignity and value, yet both will go down in history in very different ways.

By the way, your signature:
 All messages from/to this account should be considered private.
 Messages from/to newsletters should not be reshared.
 TZ: Europe/Rome (Italy - CEST).

If you send a message to a mailing list or to a newsletter, it is
practically impossible and also undesireable to avoid it from being
reshared.  Besides the unacceptance by most people of your policy
(including me), your message is very much political (except for the time
zone, which seems a very nice area).

Italian law is the most complex (and illogical and weird) in the world.

The purpose of that signature isn't to protect me nor express a political message, but to protect you from the innumerable quibbles of Italian law: digital correspondence is considered equivalent to personal paper correspondence and sharing/opening/refer to an email w/o the explicit permission of its author is a serious criminal offense punished with 3 years of jail. Even with an implicit/explicit consent to forward it, you would also need a document signed with an advanced digital signature (digital smart card/certificate owned by each Italian citizen to replace OpenPGP/GnuPG for many operations) or anyhow a permanent document where I authorize the publication of my personal data, otherwise you will be obliged to censor any personal information - and the email address - in the email before doing anything with it. Another important quirk of emails from Italy is that I can, at any time and for any reason, ask and obtain the permanent removal of any personal data published online or even reshared privately, including attachments, email addresses and any kind of (even indirectly) identifiable information. Regardless of the permits, if there is a reputational or occupational damage - even potential - I can also obtain a compensation proportional to the number of potential readers and the "intent to damage the reputation" is considered an aggravation for both the compensation and the jail.
Yes, that could happen for a simple email. Absurd.

The law here is so slow and expensive that we prefer to prevent any problems in any possible way, because the very slow and very expensive process is a pain for everyone. International agreements? Triple pain. If you ask any Italian about Italian law they will tell you the same thing: stay away from it at all costs, employing any amount of bureaucracy required to do so, because without the right hooks it leads to doom. :-)


All messages from/to this account should be considered private.
Messages from/to newsletters should not be reshared.
TZ: Europe/Rome (Italy - CEST).

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