Open Software - Software That Respects Individual Rights

Posted by $ hash 5 years, 9 months ago to Technology
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I believe there's a major flaw with all existing Free Software and Open Source Software licenses.

All these licenses treat "software rights" as irreducible primaries, and effectively elevate them above individual rights.

This is obviously no good.

I've created the concept of Open Software for software and licenses that respect the primacy of individual rights. I've also put together two Open Software licenses that software developers can use to license their software.

More details are on the site.

Would love to hear what folks in the Gulch think of this.

Also, it'd be great if you can follow and retweet @freesoftwr on Twitter to help spread the word. Thanks!

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  • Posted by $ WilliamShipley 5 years, 9 months ago
    So this is the type of software license that would allow you to use the software unless you were using it for an unapproved use -- such as to promote objectivism or support Trump.

    Once you start licensing software only to people who you politically agree with then you get into an interesting place. You don't need to forbid people to use the software to break the law -- it's already breaking the law.

    Any tool can be misused, even a toothpick.
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  • Posted by $ 5 years, 9 months ago

    Also, the relevant issue isn't what you're using the software for. What's relevant is who you are. If you're an individual rights violator you can't use the software for anything.

    If my software is a music player and I'm using an Open Software license, I'm denying licensing to thieves and murderers not because they might use the software in the commission of their crimes, but because I don't want to gift my software to thieves and murderers.
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  • Posted by $ 5 years, 9 months ago
    @WilliamShipley Did you read the webpage and the licenses?

    Yes, if one wanted one might use an Open Software license to deny use to arbitrary entities for non-objective reasons, but that would only harm one's product and overall reputation in the market.

    The idea is to deny use to known individual-rights-violating entities, including criminals, governments, and those involved in the spread of anti-individual-rights propaganda, such as communists.

    If someone would like to grant such entities the right to use their software to further their goals to violate the individual rights of others, then there are plenty of other licenses they can use.

    Of course by using one of those licenses they would put themselves in the same moral category as Dr. Robert Stadler.

    Also, it's not about "forbidding people from using the software to break the law".

    It's about not freely licensing one's software to those engaged in violating individual rights or advocating that.

    Many things are illegal that don't violate individual rights, and many things are legal that do.

    The OAL 2.0 makes no mention of "legality" - it only refers to the violation of individual rights.
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  • Posted by lagged 5 years, 9 months ago
    So, another software license that does essentially nothing. It's made by and for honest people as they will be the only ones who regard it as binding.

    "criminals" will still do what they want with your code and there will still be nothing you can do about it.

    Yes, if you managed to catch a large corporation using it that was on the "forbidden" list, you might be able to force them into some small settlement, but the odds of finding them out are small.
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    • Posted by $ 5 years, 9 months ago

      Sure criminals might get away with doing what they want but you're not explicitly giving them permission to use your software, and protecting their "software rights" with your license.

      For some types of software that might be relevant in the software developer not being possibly considered legally complicit in a crime where his software was involved. So IMO this exclusion is pretty important from a legal point of view.

      Almost all large corporations are excluded from the license (because most of them hold government contracts) and it's not a settlement one would be after, it would be to get them to stop using the software.

      So if a "Free Software" or "Open Source" programmer isn't so thrilled about having his code used to censor a billion people as part of Google's censored China search engine, licensing the code under an Open Software license would be the first step to preventing that.
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