that old GNU/Linux argument

Antonio Olivares olivares14031 at
Mon Jul 28 04:24:53 UTC 2008

> > Why can't it be given as a gift, you are free to
> do whatever you want
> > with the cow. If you decide to let the cow eat hay and
> have calves, the
> > calves that you have can be shared with thy neighbor.
> This is what the
> > GPL enforces. The neighbor needs milk, he can milk
> your cow. Remember
> > the cow is licensed under the GPL. 
> It's a huge mistake to create analogies between
> information and property.
> If the cow were software, you and I could both milk it.  It
> would never 
> run out.  That's the way information works: you copy it
> and the original 
> is left intact.
> Property doesn't work like that.  If you milk the cow,
> then the cow will 
> need time to make more milk.  I can't go and milk the
> cow immediately 
> after you.
> Analogies comparing property and information are misleading
> because of 
> the fundamental difference between the two.  Can we please
> not continue 
> to compare software and property?
Agree :)
> > I would see real life examples like a teacher and a
> student. A 
> > teacher teaches a student many wonderful things say in
> mathematics.
> > That student learns and goes to higher and higher
> levels eventually
> > earning a Ph.D. The teacher is just a high school
> teacher, but was
> > the teacher of the student. The student comes up with
> a very famous
> > equation or proves a Theorem that has never been
> proven before. If
> > the student uses the GPL, he has to credit all of his
> teachers
> > including the one that taught him in high school. The
> student proved
> > the Theorem himself and he does acknowledge all of the
> teachers that
> > he had. All of the teachers can claim that they wrote
> the Theorem
> > also because they are protected under the GNU/GPL
> umbrella :) Is that
> > any justice to the student, who worked all the way up
> and did his/her
> > homework?
> The GPL isn't about credit, it's about distribution
> and rights.  Since 
> you're talking about knowledge here, it's a
> somewhat better analogy than 
> the cow. :)
> If the teacher had given the student his knowledge under
> terms similar 
> to the GPL, then that would not allow the teacher to claim
> that he wrote 
> the student's theorem.  It wouldn't even ensure
> that the teacher could 
> later use the student's theorem to teach others
> (that'd be more like the 
> AGPL).  What it would ensure is that however the student
> applied the 
> theorem, he would have to describe the theorem itself and
> all of the 
> mathematical underpinnings that support it to the people to
> whom he 
> distributes his work.  He can charge money for his services
> if he 
> chooses, but he can not hide the manner in which his work
> functions, and 
> he can not forbid anyone from discussing his theorem once
> they've 
> learned of it.
> So, given that, do you think it's a good thing to
> forbid people from 
> discussing the theorem that the student discovered?  If so,
> why?
> -- 
No it is not a good thing to forbid people from discussing the theorem!   The theorem is important and knowledge is to be shared.  The teacher should not attach his name in the student's theorem.  The theorem will be known as the Teacher/Student's Theorem.  This would be a good case, if the teacher and the students worked jointly on the project.  I have seen many cases, in which a person does all the dirty work, and another guy types it up (in tex/latex) and attaches his name and has the paper published.  This is not fair to the guy who did all the dirty work, but since the other guy can type it, and is famous for publishing it is a win-win situation.  

In mathematics, when mathematicians create papers, they use previous works, they have to cite the authors of the previous work.  Of course there are no licenses, but like Alexandre mentions, plagarism is possible.  While sometimes, you can find an equation over where you are at, and I can find a similar equation or one equivalent to yours, both independently.  The work cannot be exlusively yours, unless you publish your work before I do.  Then you beat me to it and deserve all the honors :)




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