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What if copyright didn't apply to binary executables?

By rights, copyright really shouldn't apply to binary executables, because they are purely "functional" (not "expressive") works. The decision to extend copyright to binaries was an economically-motivated anomaly, and that choice has some counter-intuitive and detrimental side-effects. What would things in the free software world look like if the courts had decided otherwise? For one thing, the implementation of copyleft would have to be completely different.

Hypothetical? Academic? Not if you're a hardware developer! Because this is exactly what the law does look like for designs for physical hardware (where the product is not protected by copyright).

Impossible thing #6: Closing the Digital Divide

For many years, there has been a growing concern about the emergence of a "digital divide" between rich and poor. The idea is that people who don't meet a certain threshold income won't be able to afford the investment in computers and internet connectivity that makes further learning and development possible. They'll become trapped by their circumstances.

Under proprietary commercial operating systems, which impose a kind of plateau on the cost of computer systems, this may well be true. But GNU/Linux, continuously improving hardware, and a community commitment to bringing technology down to cost instead of just up to spec, has led to a new wave of ultra-low-cost computers, starting with the One Laptop Per Child's XO. These free-software-based computers will be the first introduction to computing for millions of new users, and that foretells a much freer future.

How to love Free Software in 3 steps: configure, make, make install

I recently re-read the article how to hate free software in 3 easy steps by Steven Goodwin. I'm no programmer, but then I've also installed a few distributions myself. And frankly, I have trouble relating to that post.

Several points were made in the article's comments, some being that non-programmers don't compile from source anyway, compiling from source requires you to be a programmer, and other operating systems don't crash when you tinker with their partitions.

Excuse me?

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