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Carmen Bianca Bakker: Destination status quo

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GNU
Legal

I recently happened upon an article that argued against the four freedoms as defined by the Free Software Foundation. I don’t actually want to link to the article—its tone is rather rude and unsavoury, and I do not want to end up in a kerfuffle—but I’ll include an obfuscated link at the end of the article for the sake of integrity.

The article—in spite of how much I disagree with its conclusions—inspired me to reflect on idealism and the inadequacy of things. Those are the things I want to write about in this article.

So instead of refuting all the points with arguments and counter-arguments, my article is going to work a little differently. I’m going to concede a lot of points and truths to the author. I’m also going to assume that they are ultimately wrong, even though I won’t make any arguments to the contrary. That’s simply not what I want to do in this article, and smarter people than I have already made a great case for the four freedoms. Rather, I want to follow the author’s arguments to where they lead, or to where they do not.

The four freedoms

The four freedoms of free software are four condition that a program must meet before it can be considered free. They are—roughly—the freedoms to (1.) use, (2.) study, (3.) share, and (4.) improve the program. The assertion is that if any of these conditions is not met, the user is meaningfully and helplessly restricted in how they can exercise their personal liberties.

The aforementioned article views this a little differently, however. Specifically, I found its retorts on the first and second freedoms interesting.

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