O monstro devorador de liberdade

Alexandre Oliva

(en=>pt): Many people honestly believe that they advance the Free Software cause when they help their friends install on their computers Free Software along with a little bit of non-Free Software. It is not that simple.

(en=>pt): Agreeing with a non-Free Software license that does not respect the four fundamental freedoms of Free Software may give the impression that you aren't morally entitled to them. But you are, and letting others convince you that you aren't feeds the freedom-eating monster.
http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-sw.html (em inglês)

(en=>pt): Furthermore, there are license contracts that actually establish obligations or prohibitions in return for the rights you're entitled to have. As long as you're bound by such contracts, even if you don't use the software any more, you don't get your freedoms back. Should the laws change such that you didn't need the copyright holder to acknowledge your rights, you'd still be constrained by the contract. You've fed the freedom-eating monster, and you got handcuffs in return. Great deal, huh?

(en=>pt): For example, he who accepts a patent license that imposes restrictions on the enjoyment of the 4 freedoms, by himself or by others, feeds the freedom-eating monster. For personal advantage, he turns against our community. He becomes a monster himself.

(en=>pt): Conversely, when you reject such limiting agreements and live on without a patent license, you fight the monster along with us. Software that implements patents and is distributed in a way that respects the four freedoms, even in the absence of patent licenses, is Free Software. For example, the GPL does not oppose such distribution, while it does oppose distribution by those who agreed to restrain others' freedoms.
http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl.html (em inglês)

(en=>pt): Because many people think patents and copyrights are similar, it is worth pointing out that they are defined by very different laws, without almost anything in common. The freedom-restricting aspects covered in this article apply to copyright licenses, patent licenses, EULAs and many other kinds of licenses and contracts, but while copyright applies in most countries and is world-wide, patents are territorial, and software patents are not accepted in most Latin American countries. So, in most of Latin America, we should be concerned about keeping software patents away, not about how much damage they can already cause us.

(en=>pt): Every time you agree with a limiting licensing contract, you're putting on more handcuffs. You're cutting a piece of your freedom and handing it to the monster. And the monster gets bigger.

(en=>pt): Contrast with the GPL: when you accept it, you don't give up anything. It doesn't establish obligations, it only relaxes limitations imposed by law, so as to respect the rights you and others who receive the software should have. The GPL is a "Don't feed the monster" sign.
http://lwn.net/Articles/61292/ (em inglês)

(en=>pt): If you've fed the monster before, surrendering your rights to non-Free Software, you don't live in digital freedom. But you can take them back. And more, you can make your path to digital freedom a straight line: don't accept any additional limiting licenses while you work to replace non-Free Software with Free Software.

(en=>pt): If you've already taken your rights back, congratulations, for it's good for you, and thanks, for it's good for all of us!

(en=>pt): Replacing non-Free Software may be difficult if you have a lot of data in proprietary file formats but no tool to convert it. You may have to face a decision between developing the tool or giving up the data. All the options can be costly, including the conversion itself, but please don't blame Free Software for the costs of getting out of a prison.

(en=>pt): Whereas keeping on using some non-Free Software is standing still in the path to freedom, and this use has detrimental network effects on the community, accepting more non-Free Software licenses may be taking you away from freedom, and this feeds the monster, even if it's done in the process of experimenting a Free Software operating system.

*(en=>pt): Parallel this with the proverbial maths-challenged book-seller whose policy was to sell all books below cost. He took a small loss per sale, but expected to make a profit on the higher volume of sales. Yeah, right, ha ha!

(en=>pt): Giving up a little bit of freedom is like selling at a small loss. The more you do it, the less free you end up. Beware of signs in the path to freedom that advertise shortcuts. Remember your geometry classes: there are no shorter paths than the straight line.

(en=>pt): If you want to help friends achieve digital freedom, because you understand it's unethical to deny anyone such freedom, be ready to educate them on the importance of walking this straight line all the way to the goal.

(en=>pt): Just having more Free Software installed won't make your friends free. Not even freer. It's using Free Software that will. Even more so when it enables the user to stop depending on non-Free Software.

(en=>pt): Switching to Free Software, your friends end up freer because this empowers them to do more than before, and at the same time reduces the limiting effects of non-Free Software licenses accepted in the past.

(en=>pt): However, if they accept non-Free Software along with Free Software, they give up some freedom. If they don't stop using enough non-Free Software so as to make up for this loss, they become further enslaved.

(en=>pt): If they don't learn to appreciate the value of the freedoms respected by Free Software, and to reject and replace non-Free Software until none remains, they will likely choose to enslave themselves over and over again, taking them further away from the goal.

(en=>pt): Be honest to your friends about what Free Software can and cannot do. Don't set unreasonable expectations on them, such that they don't go back, disappointed, to non-Free Software.

(en=>pt): Explain why we make some choices that appear to be self-limiting: the limitations actually come from third parties, and we reject them on moral grounds and out of respect for oneself and for the community. If your friends would join us, we might succeed in convincing the third parties to lift the limitations.

(en=>pt): When Free Software still can't do what they want, encourage your friends to support the development of Free Software to fill in the gaps. Developers and cash are welcome in most Free Software projects.

(en=>pt): If your friends ask you to install non-Free Software for them, explain that accepting a non-Free Software license is immoral and harmful to themselves and to the community you're inviting them to join. Point out that their freedom ends where others' start, and that when their choice hurts the freedoms of others in the community, they have gone beyond the boundaries of their own freedom of choice.

(en=>pt): If, even then, they want to install non-Free Software, don't encourage them. Try to ensure their choices at least get them closer to the goal of digital freedom, and don't give them the impression that being 95% free is enough. Even if it's an improvement over no freedom at all, conditional freedom is not freedom.

(en=>pt): Don't ever make the decision to install non-Free Software for them, and don't ever take this step for them, because this would convey the impression that doing so is morally acceptable. It would undermine the goal.

(en=>pt): Also, beware of software distributions that are not Free Software, but that claim to be, or are widely assumed to be. Many of these will install non-Free Software by default, without even letting you, the more experienced Free Software user, know. They claim to be promoting Free Software, but by valuing convenience above freedom, they undermine the essential value of the Free Software movement. Don't make the same mistake.

(en=>pt): The more options you offer your friends that include non-Free Software, the weaker becomes the message that non-Free Software is morally unacceptable. It thus becomes more likely that your friends will end up taking steps away from freedom, maybe even choosing such a non-Free option over a 100% Free Software one.
http://www.gnu.org/links/links.html#FreeGNULinuxDistributions (em inglês)

(en=>pt): The more freedom-deprived options you offer, the more you induce your friends to give up their freedom. And ours. But true friends don't feed friends to the freedom-eating monster.

Copyright 2007 Alexandre Oliva

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