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Comment Re:Sudden outbreak of common sense. (Score 2) 171

I think David's point is that, while what you're saying about coin flips is true of abstract mathematical "fair coins" or other similar processes, in reality you don't know a priori if you're actually dealing with a fair coin or not, and its past results gives you information on whether or not it's a fair coin and thus whether you should expect any bias in the probability of future outcomes. Those future outcomes themselves aren't influenced by the previous flips causally, as the Gambler's Fallacy presumes - -the coin isn't "due" anything -- but the previous flips give epistemic reason to expect certain outcomes to be more likely on each independent flip, including the next one.

Comment Age floor only, or ceiling and floor? (Score 4, Insightful) 90

The talk of gender-related limits made me think of teenage boys and girls in their isolated cliques wanting to share things only with other teenage boys or girls, and in light of that a possible use of age-related limits struck me: if you can set an age ceiling as well, this could be used by kids to hide things from adults, not just by adults to hide age-inappropriate things from kids.

Comment Re:Freedom vs Permissiveness? (Score 1) 250

People are already generally prohibited from kidnapping people or forcing them to do anything except as necessary to defend one's own property, i.e. one's own claims or entitlements. Slavery merely says "this person is that person's property", creating a claim or entitlement, which is only unusual in that the property in question is also a person, and thus the property is capable of violating its owners entitlements to it, and thus falling within the range of action permitted by people in general in defense of their property (in this case, from itself). The abolition of slavery does away with that claim or entitlement, eliminating the loophole that can cause a person (the former slave) to be liable to another person (the slaveholder) for transgressions against himself (as the slaveholder's property), but it doesn't add any new prohibitions into the mix.

For analogy: if you had an ostensible claim to a bit of land, and were thus justified in the use of force to defend against trespassers (to enforce your claim or entitlement to the land), and then it was ruled that you did not, in fact, own that land after all, but it was public property instead, then nobody has taken away any of your freedom. You were not previously free to use force to stop people from entering their own land, for example, or any other land that was not yours. That exact same amount of freedom vs prohibition is still in effect; only your claim to the land has changed.

Again, I shall ask for the link. There are too many posts in this thread for me to read the entire thing.

You could just hit "parent" a few times. It's the first post you replied to. But here it is anyway.

And no, you're wrong about the GPL. It imposes no conditions beyond what copyright grants---it can't. You didn't actually say that but you strongly implied it with your reference to BSD. Copyright gives you (i.e. not the rights holder) literally no rights. The GPL gives you some. Most, in fact.

It imposes conditions on its granting of an exception to the entitlements that copyright grants, and is therefore less free than it could be. It waives some entitlements that copyright grants, but not all of them. Licenses like BSD waive more of them. They don't require that you in turn waive your own entitlements like GPL does, and as I wrote in my first post, a license that did require only that would in fact be freedom-maximizing. But the GPL does more than that. It's not enough that I merely allow anyone to freely redistribute copies of my modification to a GPL'd program; I'm also required to provide the source code for that program. As I said in my first post, if source code was the only thing under discussion then the GPL would be like my freedom-maximizing license, but it's not, because GPL doesn't just say "share alike" with regards to binaries, it says "share alike and also share the source code or else don't share at all". With no copyright, you could share modified binaries without having to share the source used to build them, and would thus be more free than under GPL. It's possible to have a GPL-like license that grants exactly that much freedom, but the GPL chooses not to be such a license.

BSD is also not such a license, because it doesn't require anyone else to share alike, but it doesn't withhold its offer to share on any conditions either (besides attribution, which GPL does too). BSD gives a (ignoring attribution) unconditional license to share. A freedom-maximizing license would grand a license to share only on the condition of sharing alike. The GPL requires that, and also requires the distribution of source code as a condition for sharing binaries, thus taking a small step back from freedom maximization.

Comment Re:Source code via commented disassembly (Score 1) 250

Ok, I see your point now. But I think maybe you misunderstood what mine was. I wasn't arguing that we need copyright to ensure the goals of the GPL, but that the GPL does not grant as much freedom as a license possibly could. Disassembly could also be used to facilitate the goals of the GPL in combination with the kind of not-quite-GPL license that I described in my first post.

Comment Re:Freedom vs Permissiveness? (Score 1) 250

Abolishing slavery does not require forbidding anyone from doing anything. "Ownership" is not an action; it is a deontic state of other people having certain obligations toward you with respect to the thing that you own. To abolish slavery is just to say that nobody is obligated to respect the ostensible slave relationship. The slave-holders are not further restricted in their actions when that happens. They just have no more claims to restrict the actions of others. Nobody's individual freedom is lost when slaves are freed, not even the slave-holders.

Also, re-read my first post. I laid out what a truly freedom-maximizing license would be, and how the GPL differs. The GPL withholds permissions that are entirely within its power to grant even given the current state of copyright law, and imposes obligations that would be unenforceable without the backing of copyright law. BSD etc licenses are also not freedom-maximizing, but at the very least they do not impose any additional obligations; they only make exceptions to the ones that were already in place.

Comment Re:Freedom vs Permissiveness? (Score 1) 250

"There is no 'freedom to own slaves'" Indeed not. But it IS a restriction to forbid the ownership of slaves. You DO realise that forbidding something restricts people who would want to do it, right?

Abolishing slavery does not require forbidding anyone from doing anything. "Ownership" is not an action; it is a deontic state of other people having certain obligations toward you with respect to the thing that you own. To abolish slavery is just to say that nobody is obligated to respect the ostensible slave relationship. The slave-holders are not further restricted in their actions when that happens. They just have no more claims to restrict the actions of others. Nobody's individual freedom is lost when slaves are freed, not even the slave-holders.

"one person's entitlement is always another's lack of freedom." Indeed, which is why your entitlement from the BSD license to take the source closed is anothers lack of freedom. IOW BSD is less free.

The BSD license does not "entitle you to take the source closed". It's not like the BSD license creates obligations on others toward the licensee, which is what an entitlement is: an obligation of others toward you. It's not like, if you BSD-license some code to me, I now have the right to restrict your ability to copy and distribute that code. Copyright law would entitles me to control of copying and distribution of my modifications to the code. But the BSD license only permits an exception to the entitlement granted by copyright law, and does not create any further entitlements.

"others are gaining freedom, they are losing corresponding entitlements" and the loss of those entitlements are what the GPL asserts, yet you call that a restriction.

You evidently didn't actually read my first post, where I described a hypothetical license that would do nothing but grant permission and require the licensee to grant similar permission, and how the GPL differs from that because it treats binaries and source differently.

"And the GPL doesn't maximize global freedom anyway" Yes it does.

Learn to read.

" and the GPL is incompatible with the absence of copyright" No it isn't, any more than BSD is or Public Domain is.

The GPL grants permission only on certain conditions; in other words, it withholds permission on other conditions. In the absence of copyright law, it would have no power to withhold permission, so those conditions would become irrelevant and people could ignore them; namely, they could distribute binaries and not provide the source, with impunity. The GPL is backed by the power of copyright; without copyright, the GPL is toothless. So GPL is incompatible with the absence of copyright.

The attribution clause of the BSD license would similarly be unenforceable, granted. Anything less than public domain is incompatible with the absence of copyright, and cannot be said to "maximize freedom" in any sense.

Comment Re:Freedom vs Permissiveness? (Score 1) 250

Technically yes, your right to bodily integrity is an entitlement, not a freedom. It is of the form "everyone is prohibited from [punching you in the face, etc]", or equivalently "everyone is obliged to not [punch you in the face, etc]", and for others to have an obligation to you is exactly what an entitlement is. It is not of the form "you are permitted to...." something, which is what a freedom would be. Your right to bodily integrity is not a permission for you to do something, it's an obligation on others to not do something.

(In the technical language of rights theory, your right to bodily integrity is a "claim right", or a first-order passive right, as are entitlements in general; whereas freedoms are "liberty rights", or first-order active rights. The second-order variants thereof are called immunities and powers, if you're curious; claims against modifying first-order rights, and liberties to modify first-order rights, respectively).

Note that I never said all entitlements are bad, and I definitely agree that freedom should not be absolutely maximized, because some claims are necessary. Very minimal claims, I would argue, like the claim to bodily integrity, but some claims nevertheless. (Similarly I'd argue that there should be very minimal powers, and near-maximal immunities; people should generally have no power to change each others' rights, but nevertheless some powers are necessary, like the power to trade, which changes ownership and thus who is permitted or obligated to do or not do what to what, i.e. changes first-order rights).

Anyway. Ownership consists of claim rights (to own something is to have others prohibited from acting upon it against your will, or conversely, obligated to respect your will regarding it), so "freedom to own something" is kind of incoherent. It expands out to a permission for you to ... have others have obligations to you? That might make sense as some kind of a power (as a second-order permission to create a first-order obligation upon others), but that's clearly not what "ownership" means.

Comment Re:Freedom vs Permissiveness? (Score 1) 250

There is no 'freedom to own slaves', here is only the slaves' lack of freedom, and freeing them does not make the slave-holders less free, it makes them less ENTITLED; one person's entitlement is always another's lack of freedom.

There is no conflict between 'individual freedom' and 'global freedom'; global freedom is the sum of individual freedoms. There is only the misleading conflation of freedom with entitlement, and entitled people complaining about infringements on their 'freedom' when no such thing is happening; others are gaining freedom, they are losing corresponding entitlements, but no individual is losing freedom as global freedom increases.

And the GPL doesn't maximize global freedom anyway. I described a license that would, and how the GPL differs. The abolition of copyright would maximize freedom in this respect, and the GPL is incompatible with the absence of copyright, so it cannot be freedom-maximizing.

Comment Re:Freedom vs Permissiveness? (Score 1) 250

Yes, that's implicit. Nobody is physically able to copy or distribute your code if they don't have a copy of it in their possession. The only time any of this becomes relevant is if someone has your code already in their possession (i.e. you've distributed it to them), and is thus able to copy, modify, and distribute it; only in those conditions does it make any sense to talk about whether or not they're allowed to do so.

Comment Freedom vs Permissiveness? (Score 1) 250

Some confusion of concepts is evidenced by OP's indirect contrasting of "freedom" with "permissiveness". Freedom is permissiveness; the more you are permitted to do, the more free you are. More permissive licenses are thus by definition more free than less permissive ones.

One way to illustrate this is to consider what would happen if all copyright law suddenly went away. The permissive licenses that already let you do whatever you want would effectively still be in effect, because they were doing nothing but creating an exception to prohibitions put in place by that copyright law. The GPL, on the other hand, only allows those exceptions on the condition of accepting certain obligations; if copyright law went away entirely, there would be no prohibitions to need exceptions to, and thus no need to accept the obligations imposed as conditions to those exceptions by the license, and GPL licensing would collapse to completely permissive licensing.

The obvious balance point between the two would be a license that only imposes the obligation to permit the same exceptions to the prohibitions imposed by copyright law, because in that case if copyright law went away, nobody would have the ability to violate the required obligations, and would thus automatically meet the conditions of the license. Basically "I'll pretend copyright law doesn't exist if you do too; I won't sue you for distributing my copyrighted work if you won't sue anyone for distributing your derivatives of it". A lot of people seem to think that that's all GPL does, but it's not, because it treats binaries and source code as separate things with separate conditions. If we were talking just about source code and binaries weren't a thing at all, then GPL would be this kind of license: "you can copy and distribute this code, so long as you let anyone else copy and distribute any modifications you make to this code". If copyright went away, then you would be automatically permitted to copy and distribute it no matter what, but everyone else would be automatically permitted to copy and distribute any modifications you made too, so it would just be like everything was under such a license.

But with regards to binaries, GPL doesn't work like that. You can't just copy, modify, and distribute the binary files themselves without also accepting the obligation to provide source code with them, which means that without copyright law, people would be more permitted to do things than they would be under GPL; they would be more free. The GPL is withholding some freedom that it could grant, with the goal of making source code more widely available. And while the amount of freedom it withholds is minor, the benefits of withholding them are minor too; if you weren't allowed to withhold license of your modifications of the code you made, which would include binaries made from your modified code, then people would be free to copy your binaries, which is what end-users really pirate anyway, and what might make a financial difference, so what would be the point of withholding the source code? There would be no financial advantage to it, and I don't expect many companies would really bother, since it would make no difference in whether or not people were copying their finished product, the binaries.

1 Mole = 25 Cagey Bees