آزادی یا قدرت؟


آزادی یا قدرت؟

مؤلفین: برادلی کان و ریچارد استالمن

عشق به آزادی عشق به دیگران است؛ عشق به قدرت عشق به خودمان است.
— William Hazlitt

In the free software movement, we stand for freedom for the users of software. We formulated our views by looking at what freedoms are necessary for a good way of life, and permit useful programs to foster a community of goodwill, cooperation, and collaboration. Our criteria for free software specify the freedoms that a program’s users need so that they can cooperate in a community.

ما نه تنها برای آزادی برنامه‌نویسان، که برای آزادی دیگر کاربران نیز ایستادگی می‌کنیم. بیشتر ما برنامه‌نویس هستیم، و آزادی را علاوه ‌بر خودمان برای شما نیز می‌خواهیم. اما هر یک از ما نرم‌افزار نوشته شده توسط دیگران را استفاده می‌کند، و ما نه فقط هنگام استفاده کردن از کد خودمان، بلکه هنگام استفاده از برنامه‌های دیگران نیز آزادی می‌خواهیم. ما برای آزادیِ تمام کاربران ایستادگی می‌کنیم، چه آنها برنامه‌نویس باشند یا هرگز کدی ننوشته باشند.

However, one so-called freedom that we do not advocate is the “freedom to choose any license you want for software you write.” We reject this because it is really a form of power, not a freedom.

This oft overlooked distinction is crucial. Freedom is being able to make decisions that affect mainly you; power is being able to make decisions that affect others more than you. If we confuse power with freedom, we will fail to uphold real freedom.

Making a program proprietary is an exercise of power. Copyright law today grants software developers that power, so they and only they choose the rules to impose on everyone else—a relatively small number of people make the basic software decisions for all users, typically by denying their freedom. When users lack the freedoms that define free software, they can’t tell what the software is doing, can’t check for back doors, can’t monitor possible viruses and worms, can’t find out what personal information is being reported (or stop the reports, even if they do find out). If it breaks, they can’t fix it; they have to wait for the developer to exercise its power to do so. If it simply isn’t quite what they need, they are stuck with it. They can’t help each other improve it.

Proprietary software developers are often businesses. We in the free software movement are not opposed to business, but we have seen what happens when a software business has the “freedom” to impose arbitrary rules on the users of software. Microsoft is an egregious example of how denying users› freedoms can lead to direct harm, but it is not the only example. Even when there is no monopoly, proprietary software harms society. A choice of masters is not freedom.

Discussions of rights and rules for software have often concentrated on the interests of programmers alone. Few people in the world program regularly, and fewer still are owners of proprietary software businesses. But the entire developed world now needs and uses software, so software developers now control the way it lives, does business, communicates, and is entertained. The ethical and political issues are not addressed by the slogan of “freedom of choice (for developers only).”

If “code is law,” as Professor Lawrence Lessig (of Stanford Law School) has stated, then the real question we face is: who should control the code you use—you, or an elite few? We believe you are entitled to control the software you use, and giving you that control is the goal of free software.

We believe you should decide what to do with the software you use; however, that is not what today’s law says. Current copyright law places us in the position of power over users of our code, whether we like it or not. The ethical response to this situation is to proclaim freedom for each user, just as the Bill of Rights was supposed to exercise government power by guaranteeing each citizen’s freedoms. That is what the GNU General Public License is for: it puts you in control of your usage of the software while protecting you from others who would like to take control of your decisions.

همین‌طور که کاربرانِ بیشتر و بیشتری درمی‌یابند که کد قانون است، و به این احساس می‌رسند که سزاوار آزادی هستند، اهمیت آزادی‌هایی را که ما برایشان مبارزه می‌کنیم در خواهند یافت، همان‌طور که کاربران بیشتر و بیشتری به ارزش کاربردی نرم‌افزار آزاد که ما توسعه داده‌ایم پی خواهند برد.


این مقاله در نرم‌افزار آزاد، جامعه آزاد: مقالات منتخب ریچارد استالمن منتشر شده‌است.

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