SJ Mercury: Open Source, GPL and Allchin: Stallman Responds

“Microsoft describes the GNU General Public License (GNU GPL) as
an “open source” license, and says it is against the American Way.
To understand the GPL and evaluate this accusation, you must first
be aware that the GPL was not designed for open source.”

“The Open Source Movement, which was launched in 1998, appeals
to narrowly practical goals and values, such as powerful, reliable
software and improved technology. Many developers in that movement
use the GNU GPL, and they are welcome to use it. But the ideas and
logic of the GPL cannot be found in the Open Source Movement. They
stem from the deeper goals and values of the Free Software

“The Free Software Movement, was founded in 1984, but its
inspiration comes from the ideals of 1776: freedom, community, and
voluntary cooperation. The “free” in “free software” refers to
freedom, not price; specifically, that all computer users should
have the freedom to study, change, and redistribute the software
that they use….”

“Microsoft says that we are against “intellectual property
rights.” I have no opinion “intellectual property rights,” and if
you are thoughtful you will have none either. That term is a
catch-all, covering copyrights, patents, trademarks, and other
disparate legal systems; they are so different, in the laws and in
their effects, that any statement about all of them at once is
almost surely foolish. To think intelligently about copyrights,
patents or trademarks, you must think about them separately. My
views about copyrights are too complex to fit in this article, but
one general principle applies: they cannot justify denying the
public important freedoms. As Abraham Lincoln put it, “Whenever
there is a conflict between human rights and property rights, human
rights must prevail.”


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