Subject: Re: Merger
To: None <>
From: Richard Stallman <>
List: macbsd-general
Date: 09/03/1994 02:05:05
    During these discussions it came out that
    their DARPA contract officer had told them that BSD4.4 would be the
    absolute BSD release as AT&T, Microsoft, and some others had made 
    very strong protests to a 'Big Business' oriented white house about
    the government 'competing with private industry' with Berkeley as the
    prime example.

The idea that the government should not compete with business is
widely accepted.  I think it is a foolish idea.  But this issue is not
particularly related to the issue of programming freedom.  It is not
as important as programming freedom.

The government can stop funding any given sort of work for all sorts
of reasons.  And if they do, that does not stop you from writing the
program you want to write.  The issue of government funding is less
important precisely because it is not an insuperable problem.

Those who believe in proprietary software have started many software
businesses with no government support.  And those who believe in free
software have also written software without government support.  It is
harder, but not impossible, as the GNU project has shown.  (With the
exception of GNU Ada, we have not had government funding, though
occasionally we have been able to use equipment at
government-supported universities.)

In general, it seems to me that the responses I am getting
fail to distinguish between different degrees of wrong.
I can imagine being quite angry at Microsoft or at AT&T for
urging the government to cut off funding for BSD.

But when I decide what to do about it, I am more concerned with *how
deeply and insuperably it injures people* than about how angry I felt.

Moves to legally forbid us to write certain programs endanger our work
far more than anything else.  Other things may set us back, but we can
cope with them.  Banning our work entirely is something we cannot cope