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Re: [libreplanet-discuss] Freedom is not merely choice


From: Mark Holmquist
Subject: Re: [libreplanet-discuss] Freedom is not merely choice
Date: Tue, 15 May 2012 16:23:58 -0700
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64; rv:12.0) Gecko/20120430 Thunderbird/12.0.1

On 12-05-15 03:55 PM, Michel Van Eeckhout wrote:
I think that people can play with words and twist some of the meaning,
but what is important here is not choices imposed by others, but my own
choice, which is what I understand from Richard-qbiciii 's post.  In the
case of the browsers on Windows ARM, my choice might not even be
available, artificially, because of proprietary choices to limit users.
To really be able to even have a true personal choice, I think you
necessarily need to have the freedom to run whatever you like and modify
the system itself if that is the limiting component.  If you don't have
that, you don't have true choice.

I think a large part of the issue many of us have with this "choice === freedom" definition is that, using your example scenario here, you could still wind up limiting yourself unduly. The most important thing that indicates that is the sentence

you necessarily need to have the freedom to run whatever you like and modify
the system itself if that is the limiting component.

The "if" at the end of that sentence is not acceptable, because if the system is *not* a limiting component, you don't require the ability to modify the system itself. After that requirement is removed, a pure "more choice is better" strategy will choose the operating system that has the greatest number of possible browser choices--possibly Windows or Mac OS X, or maybe even another non-free system.

By contrast, a "more freedom is better" strategy will notice that there is very little freedom in these systems, and choose the OS that allows maximal freedom, even with fewer choices. In practice, that user might have fewer choices when they start, but as time goes on, their choices increase to infinity, because they can create their own browsers or modify other projects, and do the same with every piece of software on the system.

(sorry about the off-list duplicate, Michel, this email client doesn't seem to have figured out mailing lists yet)

--
Mark Holmquist
address@hidden



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