The Longest Now

FSF outreach getting behind GPL projects
Tuesday January 23rd 2007, 12:25 pm
Filed under: Not so popular

Ethan says in a recent review of SL’s relicensing announcement:

I am arguing that someone like Charlie Nesson – who otherwise supports
open standards and open code – would be better off supporting open
alternatives to Second Life.

How about a group like the Free Software Foundation, which also emphatically supports open standards and open code?  [Note: they would surely prefer to replace “open” with “free” in that statement, for historical reasons] They are enthusisatic about the move by Linden, and are promoting it directly.  Do we need standards for how deeply one supports the tenets of freedom — the ability to split and recreate a system elsewhere — the way we needed standards for what it means to be “free software”?

Finally, a debate which hilariously highlights the troubles with Second Life, courtesy of Berkman luncheons and YouTube: Charlie v. Ethan, Round 1

2 Comments so far
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I think I feel that the FSF’s position is consistent — they care about being able to behave ethically in society, by being able to agree to share the programs and code they receive.

In contrast, whether it makes sense to tie yourself up in a system that is controlled by a company (but where you run free code) is a strategic question, not an ethical one, and the FSF’s never claimed to be about solving those. It might suck for you in all the ways that Ethan describes, but you’re not made to behave unethically by being part of such a system.

– Chris.

Comment by Chris 01.23.07 @ 6:35 pm

FSF’s conception of freedom is very, very code-centric. As soon as you start talking to them about governance, community, data, etc., their eyes sometimes glaze over. I’m going to write next week (hopefully) about how RMS’s freedoms are no longer sufficient, and the SL situation is a prime example.

Comment by Luis 02.02.07 @ 8:27 am

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