Wednesday, January 18, 2006

A classic quandary

Over on slashdot as discussion continues on GPL V3, a poster asks:

"So is it ethical, in this case, to restrict their freedom to restrict their own freedom? Or is that nanny statism? It's a bit of a quandry, really.."

This indeed, is the classical opposition between copyleft and non-copyleft free software licenses. For the former place one restriction on you: you cannot restrict the freedoms of others. The latter place no restrictions whatsoever. Which is the better (more moral) license?

Scott and I wrote on this, presenting our work at the Computer Ethics-Philosophical Enquiry Conference last summer in Enschede, Netherlands. Here is a link to the paper.

We will be discussing this paper in the video conference on open source on February 9t. Here is the announcement, with details on how to participate and watch included.


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