English [en]   Deutsch [de]   espa?ol [es]   fran?ais [fr]   Nederlands [nl]   português do Brasil [pt-br]   русский [ru]  

Technological Neutrality and Free Software

by Richard Stallman

Proprietary developers arguing against laws to move towards free software often claim this violates the principle of “technological neutrality”. The conclusion is wrong, but where is the error?

Technological neutrality is the principle that the state should not impose preferences for or against specific kinds of technology. For example, there should not be a rule that specifies whether state agencies should use solid state memory or magnetic disks, or whether they should use GNU/Linux or BSD. Rather, the agency should let bidders propose any acceptable technology as part of their solutions, and choose the best/cheapest offer by the usual rules.

The principle of technological neutrality is valid, but it has limits. Some kinds of technology are harmful; they may pollute air or water, encourage antibiotic resistance, abuse their users, abuse the workers that make them, or cause massive unemployment. These should be taxed, regulated, discouraged, or even banned.

The principle of technological neutrality applies only to purely technical decisions. It is not “ethical neutrality” or “social neutrality”; it does not apply to decisions about ethical and social issues—such as the choice between free software and proprietary software.

For instance, when the state adopts a policy of migrating to free software in order to restore the computing sovereignty of the country and lead the people towards freedom and cooperation, this isn't a technical preference. This is an ethical, social and political policy, not a technological policy. The state is not supposed to be neutral about maintaining the people's freedom or encouraging cooperation. It is not supposed to be neutral about maintaining or recovering its sovereignty.

It is the state's duty to insist that the software in its public agencies respect the computing sovereignty of the country, and that the software taught in its schools educate its students in freedom and cooperation. The state must insist on free software, exclusively, in public agencies and in education. The state has the responsibility to maintain control of its computing, so it must not surrender that control to Service as a Software Substitute. In addition, the state must not reveal to companies the personal data that it maintains about citizens.

When no ethical imperatives apply to a certain technical decision, it can be left to the domain of technological neutrality.

TOP

 [FSF logo] “The Free Software Foundation (FSF) is a nonprofit with a worldwide mission to promote computer user freedom. We defend the rights of all software users.”

JOIN SHOP

招财蟾蜍APP 常见的手机赚钱软件是什么意思 利用别人的时间赚钱 澳洲兼职赚钱 可以存钱赚钱的app 网上在线赚钱项目 玩彩视怎样赚钱 伊甸园注册怎么赚钱的 在医院怎么赚钱吗 赚钱的小说推荐 通过干干净净的赚钱让人相信干干净净的赚钱是可能的 即使是在中国 极品飞车19如果赚钱 arbr指标赚钱 斗破苍穹怎么赚钱最快 带她赚钱的前女友是第几期 梦幻老区飞升号怎么赚钱 手游游戏怎么赚钱最快