*countable infinities only

Eric Smith eric at brouhaha.com
Tue Jun 19 15:50:47 UTC 2012

I wrote:

> I would claim that the moral right to run whatever software we wish on
> hardware we own is a negative right; it doesn't put any obligation on
> another party to help you do it.  If you can hack up Fedora to run on a
> Nokia Windows phone, more power to you, but Nokia and Microsoft aren't
> obligated to help you do it, and aren't legally prohibited from doing
> things that make it difficult for you to exercise your moral right.

Andrew Haley wrote:
> I think I'd disagree with you there. I don't think it's any different 
> from someone using extensive technical measures to prevent anyone 
> other than the authorized dealers of a particular car from servicing 
> it. Such a move would be treated as anti-competitive in many 
> countries, and IMO software should be treated in the same way. 

If the things that make it difficult to run software of your choosing on 
a device can be proven to serve no purpose but to stifle competition, 
then yes.  But often those things have other purposes as well.  For 
example, requiring firmware updates to be signed has a demonstrable 
purpose in preventing certain types of malware from infecting a product, 
so that feature cannot be said to serve no purpose other but to stifle 


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