Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Another take on the freedoms

So, one idea that has definitely been sparked off by the debate following the video conference is that we'll change our take on the contours of the ethical debate. Scott and I have been concentrating on a "copyleft versus non-copyleft" debate. But it seems that another way to go would be to start with a discussion of the four freedoms, unpack them for the ethical message they aim to impart, compare with proprietary licenses and then move on to the discussion we currently have. In the last chapter of the book, we take on freedom 0 again, in the context of a political philosophy for cyberspace, where we discuss First Amendment protections for source code (can unrestrained speech be harmful?) but a discussion of freedom 0 needs to happen earlier even if all we do at that point is point out how its better handled in the context of speech-like protections. Handling the four freedoms in this fashion also enables a more favorable treatment of folks like Debian, who might not be all-GPL or all FSF-like, but are very, very committed to the four freedoms in all other ways.


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