GPLv3 and Mobile Phones

Richard Franks spontificus at
Thu Dec 14 20:55:19 CET 2006

On 12/10/06, Dave Crossland <dave at> wrote:
> (I also am sad to see a very logical and well reasoned position being
> smeared as 'religious' all the time, but I'm about to go on holiday
> and will reply to all that in January :-)

I think I hold the dubious honour of first using the word 'religious'
in this debate, so let me say that it wasn't intended as a smear, but
a simple observation that a philosophy which contains absolute ethics
which are subjective and not drawn from social consensus, which seek
to place their invented limitations on what individuals can or can't
do (e.g. the dangling carrot of FSF approval only if OpenMoko does not
contain or link to or even mention closed-source drivers).. has more
in common with religion than any modern philosophy I know of:

IIRC, the reason for the lack of Wifi in the Neo1973 was due to the
lack of an open-source driver. How much of this was down to the core
team members, and how much was because the Neo1973 would lose geek
credibility in a world of black and white? I respect the decision of
the core team - it's their baby (until January - evil heh heh heh),
and I also respect any business analysis reasons which might have
suggested that the Open Source Community would reject the Neo1973 if
it had a closed-source wifi driver.

What I do not respect, is attempts by others to try to restrict my
liberty, because it offends the ethical code which they have adopted
for themselves. Furthermore, by suggesting it is an ethical issue, it
implies that by disagreeing I am unethical or just uneducated.
Finally, the absolutist stance taken has in the past and continues to
restrict human liberty and choice by putting non-consensus unprovable
'ethics' ahead of technology.

A case in point:
"If a module arguably isn't a derived work, we simply shouldn't try to say
that its authors have to conform to our worldview... [snip] ...nobody
should be forced to behave according to our rules just because they
_use_ our system."

The 'doomsday scenario' conveniently neglects other world economies
and assumes new hardware components will all be closed-source, 'as if
they can get away with it'.. as if there is no possible technological
or financial benefit available to companies supporting the open source

I did think that this subject was getting a little off-topic, but then
I realised that if the decision to leave out Wifi was not a purely
technical one -- then the decision was forced by those who can shout
"ETHICS!" the loudest. If so, this becomes relevant to all of us
potential Neo1973 owners!


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