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Comment: Re:Compromise (Score 1) 367

by Sebastian Reichelt (#26320677) Attached to: Stallman On the State of Free Software 25 Years On

I'd like to be able to agree with that. The thing is, most "free software activists" are not doing what you said. Once the issue is raised to an ethical level ("freedom"), people seem to feel the need for an all-or-nothing point of view.

I think that for example, the KDE/GNOME split is a direct consequence, since KDE not being "free enough" (at the time) is said to be one of the major reasons for GNOME's existence. Similarly, some BSD-affine developers seem to feel the need to rewrite GPL software just to make it "more free."

At the end of the day, free software is just vastly more useful than non-free software, especially because as a user, you can be sure that you will never be locked in to anything. The question is whether proprietary software is actually evil (as free software activists seem to claim) or whether free software is simply better.

As pragmatists such as Linus have acknowledged, that question does not even need to be answered; all we can do is develop free software -- for whatever reason we choose. What does matter, though, is whether we develop software for maximum utility (possibly compromising "freedom," see for example WINE) or maximum "freedom" (possibly lacking utility, Gnash anyone?). (Not really trying to criticise Gnash or support WINE, just giving some examples to illustrate my point.)

Comment: Re:So once the big guys are down... (Score 4, Insightful) 250

by Sebastian Reichelt (#26240521) Attached to: Google, Apple, Microsoft Sued Over File Preview

Sorry to burst your bubble, but actually, if they are successful, it works more like this:

1. Idiot sues Apple
2. Apple pays money

1. Idiot sues MS
2. MS pays money

1. Idiot sues Gnome Foundation etc.
2. Gnome, KDE etc. must remove the previews
3. One day later an unofficial patch pops up somewhere
4. One month later it becomes apparent that nobody except a few techies uses that patch, and people start to blame "Linux" for lacking an essential feature

Comment: Re:tax burden myths (Score 2, Insightful) 293

by Sebastian Reichelt (#22911300) Attached to: Swiss Bank Secrecy Under Renewed Attack

There is a difference between such loopholes, which should be fixed by sane legislation, and the situation with certain countries' banking laws: In this case, we are talking about with a form of tax evasion that is illegal already in the tax evaders' home countries; the problem is that these criminals usually cannot get caught.

For example, the recent scandal about wealthy Germans evading taxes through anonymous foundations in Liechtenstein was uncovered only because a bank employee stole secret account data and sold it to German officials (and he actually got convicted for it earlier in Liechtenstein). That is, IMHO, the real trouble: Everyone knows what is going on, yet there is not even a legal way to find any sort of proof.

Programmers do it bit by bit.

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