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F3nd0 wrote

It's libre for you, I, and members of the working class.

No, I believe the version of this licence used by Nettle is not. Specially, it demands that I be a worker-owned business or collective to exercise the freedoms provided. You have published a newer version, which should correct this one issue, but it has not been adopted by Nettle.

Why should we care if it's libre for Capitalists to exploit?

That's exactly what you do when you use this licence. It is because you care about them not being able to use it, that you explicitly prevent them from doing so, via this licence.

Why would a developer be under any moral obligation to allow Capitalists to sell their work without any reciprocal benefit?

It appears that the primary aim of this licence is to hinder capitalism (or rather capitalist businesses – I may be mis-using the term). It picks a certain political/economical struggle as its priority to support.

This approach differs from libre licences, such as the GPL. The only thing those do is give users – any users – the freedom to do as they wish with the software. Copyleft licences go a step beyond to preserve this freedom as the software is being extended and further redistributed. Note how this approach caters only to the idea that users should be in control of their computing, and nothing else.

Contrary to this, the first approach picks one of the perceivable issues in the world, and gives it upmost importance. This licence supposes that any business capitalist by nature would do and keep on doing, with the help of this software, such harm that would outweight any good things it may also bring, and should therefore be categorically exempted from the permissions within the licence itself.

Now, I presonally believe that preventing a company with unethical aspects or nature from using the software may not always yield the best outcome. Similar to this one, a licence could exempt users which openly support dangerous political stances, or mistreat animals or people. (One could say mistreating people is what this licence fights against.) There are many issues a licence can be made to fight against. They differ from the issue of libre software by being unrelated to software itself.

I also believe that these external issues should preferably be resolved using external means. I would likewise not call a licence which explicitly exempts companies mistreating animals or people libre. I have also seen no licences which employ such restrictions (or rather, such exemptions from permissions), which is probably because those issues are being tackled elsewhere – on levels different from software licensing.

The freedoms commonly presented under “libre software” are at least mostly agnostic. They apply to everyone, without regard to their nature or the morality of their actions. This gives libre software great neutrality; it is not restricted to people who adhere to certain points of view on different subjects; it defends only the one basic idea, which pertains to software.

However, it also gives libre software great flexibility. If the individual problems are resolved elsewhere, on different levels, libre software will still be libre; it can work in a variety of social and political systems. Contrary to that, licences which tackle these issues themselves present a view on what is acceptable and what isn't, which may eventually be incompatible with other licences made to tackle different issues, and which is set in stone along with the rest of the licence, to endure through whatever changes the world may undergo, for better or worse.

I may agree with some of the general ideas behind this licence. I would also consider certain political opinions, as well as human and animal mistreatment (to use my own examples) harmful. However, I do not want any of these codified in software licences, in any particular way.

One may say I'm in favour of applying the UNIX philosophy here: In each part of the law, protect one thing, and protect it well. Together they will form a strong system, where all parts can work together seamlessly, yet independently. I hope this works as an answer.


[deleted] wrote


F3nd0 wrote

I see; thank you for the remark. In general, I suppose the licence can be adopted as means to either end. That is, the copyright owner may decide to sell permissions to some companies and make profit, or they may not, thus effectively leaving the software unusable for some companies. (My comment should hold for both scenarios, still though.)