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Stefan's headers [was:Names and identifiers]

On Sun, 10 Jun 2018 13:36:34 +1000, Chris Angelico wrote:

>> That's all speculation. It's impossible to say how things would have
>> turned out if copyrights didn't apply to software. Certainly different,
>> but not necessarily worse.
>> In the early days, computer manufacturers didn't worry about people
>> copying their software, because it was no use without the hardware, and
>> selling hardware was how they made their money. There's no reason that
>> business model couldn't have continued into the PC era.
> It would have meant that third-party software would not exist.

Says the fellow using a free mail server (funded by advertising) on a 
free OS (funded by donations) on a free mailing list about a free 
programming language :-)

Lack of copyright for software would not affect software-as-a-service 
like Gmail. It would not affect FOSS licences like the MIT and BSD 
licence, although it might declaw the GPL.

It would not affect shareware and postcardware and freeware software to 
any appreciable amount. It would not affect the primary driver for FOSS, 
namely people scratching their own itch and being willing to share that 
solution with others.

So long as people had access to interpreters and compilers and the 
ability to write and distribute their own code, the lack of copyright for 
software would only have mattered for certain economic models for 
software, namely the paid, closed-source, non-free commercial software 
market. That's an important market, but it is not all of it.

The scenario you describe would require computers to be locked down 
behind paywalls with trusted computing hardware (a misnomer, because its 
about *not trusting the user* rather than trusting the computer) etc., or 
a wholesale move to SAS with no access to any sort of development 
environment beyond Excel spreadsheets.

While we are creeping ever closer to the day that the general purpose 
computer is extinct or only available to an elite few, while the rest of 
us are stuck in walled gardens using only approved software, the 
technology for that didn't exist in the early days of the home computer 

Steven D'Aprano
"Ever since I learned about confirmation bias, I've been seeing
it everywhere." -- Jon Ronson