Re: [linux-audio-user] Finale for Linux

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Subject: Re: [linux-audio-user] Finale for Linux
From: tim hall (
Date: Tue Jul 13 2004 - 19:21:36 EEST

Last Tuesday 13 July 2004 01:33, was like:
>  To me... the variety of choices available on linux is much more important
> than the open source thing... The copyleft idea strikes me as a really
> usable and actually somewhat noble alternative to a traditional corporate
> structure...

Yeah, I like copyleft too.

> The idea of an entirely open source strikes me as a bit
> dillettante and maybe a bit too high minded and idealistic to be practical.
> It's simply too open to politics, cliquishness and similar sorts of abuse
> {even racism... see Elvis} to be practical. {:} 'Course I sometimes feel
> this way about the internet itself. I'm probably wrong in those feelings. I
> don't think I am in my feelings about "open source".}

I don't think there's anything wrong in your feelings, it's not the same thing
as objective reality (whatever _that_ is ;-), but I think you're talking
about the problems of 'freedom' itself here. Let's remember that the term
'Open Source' is a spin on 'Free' for people who suffer from fear of freedom.
I use Debian, the idea of entirely free is practically realised on my desktop
everyday :-) I don't think it's impractical or too idealistic. It is,
however, an interesting tightrope walk - Freedom doesn't necessarily mean
opening all the valves and removing all the safety mechanisms. Yeah I get
heartily sick of having to share this beautiful planet with bullies, racists,
abusers and exploiters, but I fully recognise that feeling like that isn't
going to change a damn thing.

> }  the whole thing tick and even worth using at all (ignoring the wonderful
> }  unix-y benefits that Macs now have too) is that it's free.  I think the
> }  reaction, "Everyone else is releasing free stuff, you can bloody well
> }  release free stuff too!" isn't entirely unjustified.  As for music
>  I think it's totally unjustified and that it's that very attitude that is
> at the heart of the problem I described above.

We're all going to have to agree to differ on this one. Anyone who has spent
long hours in font of a monitor developing free software _is_ perfectly
entitled to expect others to do the same. The fact that having any kind of
expectation is likely to lead to disappointment is something for that
individual to deal with. How we decide to pay them back is also a matter for
our self-assessed consciences. Any rule we may make will limit freedom, so we
can only attempt to agree on best practice. Personally, I believe that there
is a certain magic in not quantifying this transaction, suggesting a level of
contribution only seems to serve to put an upward limit on things - Do you
ever give more than the 'suggested donation' - do you ever tip _more_ than 10
percent? I know I generally feel like I can't afford to, which is an entirely
subjective position.

Most of my life I've been a drongo musician, that is people are very keen to
hear me play and tell me they like it, which is all well appreciated,
however, the financial remuneration seems to have got lost in the post. After
20 years of hand to mouth existence I discover the existence of a vast
repository of free tools. I have the ability to develop what non-music lovers
can recognise as a useful set of skills and make my own products. Anyone who
has ever heard of Marx will understand the importance of 'ownership of the
means of production', so I have a double onus, to actually support myself by
earning a living and also to pay back those who have helped me along the way.

I don't think my position is terribly different from most others on this list
in terms of my relationship to free software. Obviously I got to eat & pay my
bills and so do the people who have developed all this lovely software I'm
using, we all do. Actually I think this is a really good example of a
community built on gift transactions. I take a 'render unto Caesar' approach,
my work is fairly clearly defined between commercial (all rights reserved)
work and communal (some rights reserved). Again, it's up to us as individuals
to decide how we license our work.

It's an interesting discussion point, but fundamentally I don't think anything
is actually broken. Your mileage may differ from what the clock says ;-).


tim hall

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