Prinz Kröte Letter on Ethical Software

Posted in Site News at 3:29 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Patent bully

Summary: Suggestions regarding our message

Some suggestions were sent to us a few days ago and we received some feedback regarding those suggestions by E-mail and in IRC. We appreciate those who sent it. Now, please take a moment to read and send us some thoughts on the following newer letter [PDF], which makes an interesting suggestion regarding the use of words. Should Techrights perhaps start referring to Free software as “Ethical Software” in order to emphasise the ethical advantages of sharing one’s code for all sorts of purposes? How about the avoidance of monopolists who resort to aggression?

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  1. Needs Sunlight said,

    May 29, 2011 at 5:01 am


    I’d like to see Amnesty and other freedom groups join in the freedom effort. Technically, it is easy and, since software freedom is part of the larger struggle for human rights, an easy way to make tangible progress.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Thanks for the good link.

  2. railway said,

    May 29, 2011 at 6:16 pm


    His intentions don’t seem completely clear, you should be cautious.
    For some reason (in the part referring microsoft), he sounds a little bit like a De Icaza to me (or atleast like an optimist).
    Or maybe i should take of the tinfoil hat.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    I heard a similar criticism, but the person is well-meaning.

  3. twitter said,

    May 30, 2011 at 11:35 pm


    The author of this document has confused being able to run a non free software program with software freedom. Non free software might be able to do something free software can not, but it always violates the user’s freedom and turns the user’s computer against them. These days, the only thing non free software can do that free software can not is read non free software formats, and this is mostly because non free software owners threaten people with lawsuits over software patents.

    It would be counter productive and wrong to call free software “ethical software”. The philosophy of free software is well developed and explained. It is ethical because respecting your neighbors freedom is the ethical and moral thing to do. Trying to exert control over others by non free software subterfuge is unethical because it impinges on the user’s freedom to make their computer do as they want. In all cases, non free software turns the user’s computer against the user and may include malware and spyware as well.

    Porting free software and organizing free software on non free platforms is mostly counter productive. Having so much as a single non free program on your computer invites all the abuse that foreign control of your computer might bring. Moving to a non free platform like Windows is completely foolish. Windows not only seizes complete control of your computer, it’s a security and upkeep nightmare. The continued effort and message of the free software community must be that non free software is an injustice and that users should escape as soon as possible. Trying to fix Windows is laboring to support an injustice.

    Those who absolutely must use legacy non free software to get a particular task done should do so through a free service like tsclient or Virtual Box. This minimizes the pain of Windows upkeep and separates your email, browsing and other important work from Microsoft control.

    A vivid, recent Microsoft abuse was demonstrated in the “Bing sting” Google pulled. By carefully constructing search results for random text strings and then typing these into a Windows computer, Google proved that Microsoft was monitoring search terms on Windows as well as copying Google’s search results. It is more important for people to realize that Microsoft is watching every user keystroke than it is for them to know that Bing is a poor search engine that has to copy results from an engine that works. Microsoft has given themselves the ability to read everything you type in Windows, this is power no one should have over you.

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