Common Arguments For Nonfree Software

15 réponses [Dernière contribution]
onpon4
Hors ligne
A rejoint: 05/30/2012

This came up in another forum that I'm a member of, and given how often it comes up and how horribly extended arguments about this go, I've compiled a list of arguments people use for proprietary software and my responses to them:

http://pastebin.com/W85FXFfE

Any suggestions are welcome, and feel free to use this yourself.

roboq6
Hors ligne
A rejoint: 05/03/2013

1.Give me definition of"freedom", please.

2."As a human, you deserve that freedom"
Very strange argument. All humans deserve freedom? Even prisoners?

3."In addition, proprietary programs whose source code is secret often contains malicious features"
Oh, really? Did you have such statistical data? Please, give me it.

Magic Banana

I am a member!

Hors ligne
A rejoint: 07/24/2010
  1. Here is a precise definition when it comes to software (the topic of the post)
  2. John Stuart Mill said that "the freedom of somebody ends where starts the freedom of somebody else" (inexact quotation; no time to search). Laws should only be enforced to make that motto concrete. Imprisonment is a punishment but not only. Jails are made to prevent somebody who harms the freedoms of other to keep on doing so.
  3. onpon4 listed proprietary programs that are known spyware. All common mobile operating systems could be added to his list. Since proprietary software users usually happen to execute at least one of those programs, the demonstration is done. Moreover, proprietary programs that are known spyware can still be spyware. Without an access to the source code, you cannot know and you cannot be sure you are in control of your own computing. That is why the user deserve an access to the source code (freedom).

You should definitely spend some time on http://gnu.org/philosophy before pretending that the free software movement uses words without defining them. It is not true at all. The grounds for the four freedoms are very solid in my opinion. Very well argued. You are welcome to detect issues in the reasoning. Studying it is a prerequisite.

roboq6
Hors ligne
A rejoint: 05/03/2013

1.You are misunderstood me. I KNOW about definitons of free software. And thank you, now I know your definition of freedom.

2.But anyway, why all humans deserve freedom? Are you blindly believe in it or you have arguments?
For example, in the past slavery was a good thing, it was very beneficial to a society.

3.I`m surpised. I asked for statistics, but instead onpon4 gave me list of proprietary "spyware".
I don`t see any sense in it, I can`t understand your logic.

Magic Banana

I am a member!

Hors ligne
A rejoint: 07/24/2010

2. Was slavery beneficial to slaves? Sure inequalities profit to the ones on the good side of them. However, I believe that "all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights" (first article of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights).

3. By listing popular proprietary software that include malware, onpon4 demonstrated that most users of proprietary software are victims of those those malicious features. This is a more interesting point to make than stating that most proprietary applications contain malware. It simply is impossible to make such a claim because you would need accesses to their source code. Too bad: you usually are not free to do so. It is not because a malware has not been detected that it does not exist: proprietary developer do not sell their software based on those features! They hide them. In the end you can categorize the proprietary applications into a) those that are known spyware and b) those that may be spyware. Users deserve to know for sure that they are are not running malware. Freedom 1 is a prerequisite.

roboq6
Hors ligne
A rejoint: 05/03/2013

1."Was slavery beneficial to slaves?"
Sometimes yes, sometimes no.

Do you think it's a fantastic situation where people want to be slaves?
However, world history know such cases. A free man is very much like a street dog.
Some people believed that it is better to be fed into slavery than to starve in freedom.

By the way, slavery is not necessarily means inhuman exploitation of slaves. Inhuman exploitation is profitable only
when we have a huge surplus of slaves.

2. "all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights"
I believe this is a shameless lie! Any rights is an agreement inside the Society.
There is no "inherent right", only an agreement between people.

3.For such cases you can use AppArmor. Example:
blog.thekondor.net/2009/10/sandboxed-skype-21-in-linux.html
However, even in this case, the base system must be FLOSS.

Magic Banana

I am a member!

Hors ligne
A rejoint: 07/24/2010

1. When you were born slave, you were doomed to stay at the bottom of the society all your life long. This is just not right. Pretending that it is better than starving can justify almost anything! It is a fallacy. You cannot say that something is good because something worse exists. You could also write that every newborn should be implanted emitters for the police to know where everybody is, at any moment because "it is better than being killed by criminals".

2. At the basis, there is ethics. There is the right thing. Inequalities are wrong.

3. That is off the subject. Skype is allowed to listen and talk over the Internet. A backdoor and a spyware do need anything more. Using AppArmor will not make your Skype compatible with other VOIP software. Etc.

roboq6
Hors ligne
A rejoint: 05/03/2013

1.You probably don't know this, but in ancient times, slaves could be officials and managers. Slavery does not
automaticly mean low social status.

2.If freedom means a high probability of death, then I will choice to be a slave.
You may think otherwise.

3."You cannot say that something is good because ..."
"Good" and "Bad" are relative. There is not absolute good or absolute bad things.
Even slavery may be different. I would rather be a slave of the ancient Egyptians, than a slave of Americans.
Americans were one of the most cruel slave-owners.

4.In today's world, slavery is bad for society. Because humanity known more effective schemes of labor organization.
But not because everyone has the right to liberty. No rights can exist outside of human society.
Therefore, so-called "human rights" no more than a convention.

5."Inequalities are wrong"
My ethical axioms are different from yours. I see no harm in inequality.
Are you an anarchist?

6."spyware do need anything more"
Okay, Skype is bad example. But proprietary programs that usualy work offline, can by used with AppArmor.

Magic Banana

I am a member!

Hors ligne
A rejoint: 07/24/2010

Do you realize that we always answer your points?, that you never answer ours?, that you just disregard them with some fallacy? You gave us the answer "I do not care: your argument does not apply to me in person". Now we have, "there are some exceptions in the Ancient Greece, so your argument is invalid" (maybe you think I am living in the Ancient Greece). We had "I am a rational egoist, what means not 100% egoistic, not 100% altruistic". Now we have "nothing is absolute and an argument about what we think is right (privacy for instance) or wrong (slavery for instance) is meaningless" (then, according to your own definition, everybody is a rational egoist, i.e., this notion is meaningless).

In the end, you are just a sophist. You can answer me that sophists were not all scam if you want. I know that. However everybody understands what I mean by "sophist". Pretending that you do not is like pretending that by "slave" I meant the exceptional upper-class of slavery there was in Athens 25 centuries ago.

roboq6
Hors ligne
A rejoint: 05/03/2013

"do you realize that we always answer your points? That you never answer ours?"
Sorry, maybe my english not so good. I cannot understand your thought. Please, rephrase.

"There are some exeption in the Ancient Greece"
Wow! Why do you think that I was referring to the Ancient Greece?
I don't know about the Ancient Greece, but in the Ancient Egypt it was the norm.
In the Ancient Egypt all the people (including the bigwigs) were considered as a slaves of the Pharaoh.

"an argument about what we think is right is meaningless"
No, you got it wrong. This means that "good thing" and "bad thing" depends on current circumstances. For example, the same medicine can save human lives as well as kill.

"you are just a sophist"
No. You simply misunderstood me.

onpon4
Hors ligne
A rejoint: 05/30/2012

> Very strange argument. All humans deserve freedom? Even prisoners?

That's an interesting philosophical argument. I think the answer is: yes. Prison is a pretty bad system (I'm in favor of rehabilitation), but its purpose is to keep people who are supposedly dangerous from doing further harm to others, not to torture them. They should have freedom to the furthest extent possible within the prison system, which means they should have the freedom to write and publish books and other creative works, for example, and if they obtain computers, they should be allowed to control those computers (as long as they don't break prison rules).

> "In addition, proprietary programs whose source code is secret often
> contains malicious features"
> Oh, really? Did you have such statistical data? Please, give me it.

Well, I can give you a list of examples of proprietary programs with well-known malicious features:

* Microsoft Windows
* Apple Mac OS X
* Apple iOS
* Adobe Reader
* Adobe Flash Player
* Quicktime
* Windows Media Player
* RealPlayer

quantumgravity
Hors ligne
A rejoint: 04/22/2013

It's a very good list of responses.
I would just add some arguments to this point:
""Why should I care? I can't/don't want to change the software anyway.""

I response like this:
Everyone respects the importance of freedom of press although most people aren't journalists and so they are not able to publish an article in a magazine and maybe they will never do this in their whole life.
So _you_ are not able to make changes to the program and you can't understand anything of the source code, but others can; everyone having this freedom makes sure that the program does exactly what it should do.

I think your response to
""But it's their program!""
is a bit misleading because you're mixing art and technological knowledge.
This makes you vulnerable for several serious counterarguments.
for example "So it would be right to draw a mustache on the mona lisa and redistribute it under your own name??"

onpon4
Hors ligne
A rejoint: 05/30/2012

> I think your response to
> ""But it's their program!""
> is a bit misleading because you're mixing art and technological knowledge.
> This makes you vulnerable for several serious counterarguments.
> for example "So it would be right to draw a mustache on the mona lisa and
> redistribute it under your own name??"

Does this addition help?

---
"So you think I should be able to redistribute other people's work under my own name?"

No. It would be rather rude to claim that you wrote it when you didn't. Rules against plagiarism are fine as long as you still have the four freedoms. Many free software licenses do have some sort of attribution requirement, such as requiring the copyright notice to be preserved.
---

> I response like this:

I'm not sure how I can fit the journalist analogy, but how about this addition?

---
Think of it this way: if you own a car, you know that the car comes with certain freedoms: the freedom to change it, the freedom to fix it, and the freedom to pay someone else to do these things for you. Though not exactly the same, free software is similar: it gives you the freedom to change the program, the freedom to fix bugs in the program, and the freedom to pay someone else to do these things for you. Most people who own cars do not have the knowledge necessary to do make significant changes or effect significant repairs, but it would still be rather unwelcome for the car to deliberately prevent you from doing these things the way proprietary software does; it's not the car company's right to control what goes on in your car. Similarly, it it is not software companies' right to control what goes on in your computer.
---

quantumgravity
Hors ligne
A rejoint: 04/22/2013

Yes, I think this suits very well. The car analogy is very limited but in this case absolutely correct.

ssdclickofdeath
Hors ligne
A rejoint: 05/19/2013

Onpon4 ~ "Well, I can give you a list of examples of proprietary programs with well-known malicious features:

* Microsoft Windows
* Apple Mac OS X[...]"

What are the malicious 'features' in Mac OS X?

andrew
Hors ligne
A rejoint: 04/19/2012

> What are the malicious 'features' in Mac OS X?

1. The Mac App Store program doesn't allow users to use their own repositories. (Apple's repository is well known for its severe censorship, rejection of GPL apps and promoting non-free software).

2. Apple attacks freedom #0 by putting restrictions on who can install their OS (it's only legal to use it on an Apple computer).

3. Apple waited for over 3 years to fix a known vulnerability in iTunes that was used by the FinFisher malware (which was used by oppressive governments - see https://krebsonsecurity.com/2011/11/apple-took-3-years-to-fix-finfisher-trojan-hole/)

There are a few more here:

https://www.fsf.org/blogs/rms/mac-osx-mistakes-and-malfeatures