The simplicity and beauty of copyleft is that it takes away someone’s software freedom only at the moment when they take away someone else’s software freedom; copyleft ensures that is the only reason your software freedom should be lost. Simple tools work best when your social justice cause is an underdog, and we risk obscurity of our software if we seek to change the fundamental simple design of copyleft licensing to include licensing penalties for other social justice grievances (— even if we could agree on which other non-FOSS causes warrant “copyleft protection”). It means we have a big tent for software freedom, and we sometimes stand under it with people whose behavior we despise. The value we have is our ability to stand with them under the tent, and tell them: “while I respect your right to share and improve that software, I find the task you’re doing with the software deplorable.”. That’s the message I deliver to any ICE agent who used Free Software while forcibly separating parents from their children.
Challenges in Maintaining A Big Tent for Software Freedom (cache)
More infos on the specific ICE topic (cache).
Even if I mention alternatives, that’s a topic I’m still exploring with all its moral implications and it’s great to have articles from both sides. Interpretation is really key when you had some judgement restrictions to your work and it’s easy to mess up and become even worse than the agnostic version. My current take is: at least try to do some good with the initial work, that’s already a win over this whole industry.