*countable infinities only

Gregory Maxwell gmaxwell at gmail.com
Tue Jun 19 16:10:20 UTC 2012

On Tue, Jun 19, 2012 at 11:50 AM, Eric Smith <eric at brouhaha.com> wrote:
> 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 competition.

Though it serves a genuine interest it is not, however, a least
restrictive means.
(at least not when it inhibits the user completely)

It wouldn't pass the tests we'd apply if it were a state mandated restriction,
should the fact that it's not actually a state restriction matter though when
it has market force equal to the state's authority?  Seems kind of funny
that in the US we've been so careful to avoid the state infringing individual
rights and then somewhat careless about other powerful entities using
massive money, state granted monopolies, and market force to achieve
the same ends.  It's a mad world. ::shrugs::

One thing we can do is not license our code for these environments that
deny users these freedoms. If we think that restrictions on freedom by
private parties is an acceptable risk where it wouldn't be acceptable
for the government because "market solutions" work against private
parties then we have to do what we can to make the market solutions
work.  Part of that means that we should stop giving them free
software for use in products where they deny users the same freedoms
they enjoyed.

RedHat and Fedora participating in this technical process which denies
freedom to users will simply make the issue harder to address via the
market because will make drawing the lines between acceptable and
unacceptable behavior harder, potentially resulting in another billion
dollar company on the unacceptable side of the line— an outcome
which no one wants— and it will undermine the arguments people
would make for state intervention, since the antitrust arguments
are rather fragile and courts are unlikely to appreciate the nuance
of why RedHat and only RedHat (for an extreme example) being
able to ship GNU/Linux for popular desktops doesn't disprove
competitive concerns.

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