Metaprogramming and Free Availability of Sources
Sun, 4 Jul 1999 00:12:43 -0400
Our problem now seems to be that not enough people care whether their hardware
comes with specs or not.
That is true. Alas, people in general tend not to give freedom the
highest priority. Our competitive system puts pressure on people to
give up their freedom to gain a short-term competitive advantage over
your competitor, and pressures him to do the same thing to beat you.
If the group of people who like public software and hardware specs grows
powerful enough to influence the creation of a must-come-with-source-code
law, then the law will not be necessary, because those people will also
have considerable power over the market.
You are taking for granted that "Markets inevitably make the right
thing happen." I don't worship the inevitable hand.
In a situation like this, laws saying "nobody can give up freedom X
for any reason whatsoever" can be good for everyone, because they
enable everyone to keep the freedom, instead of all giving it up
trying to outdo each other.