Ethics and Information Technology 11 (4):287-297 (2009)
|Abstract||The “free” in “free software” refers to a cluster of four specific freedoms identified by the Free Software Definition. The first freedom, termed “Freedom Zero,” intends to protect the right of the user to deploy software in whatever fashion, towards whatever end, he or she sees fit. But software may be used to achieve ethically questionable ends. This highlights a tension in the provision of software freedoms: while the definition explicitly forbids direct restrictions on users’ freedoms, it does not address other means by which software may indirectly restrict freedoms. In particular, ethically-inflected debate has featured prominently in the discussion of restrictions on digital rights management and privacy-violating code in version 3 of the GPL (GPLv3). The discussion of this proposed language revealed the spectrum of ethical positions and valuations held by members of the free software community. In our analysis, we will provide arguments for upholding Freedom Zero; we embed the problem of possible uses of software in the broader context of the uses of scientific knowledge, and go on to argue that the provision of Freedom Zero mitigates against too great a moral burden—of anticipating possible uses of software—being placed on the programmer and that, most importantly, it facilitates deliberative discourse in the free software community.|
|Keywords||Free software Open source software Software ethics Ethical uses of software|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
|Through your library||Configure|
Similar books and articles
Ronald R. Sims, Hsing K. Cheng & Hildy Teegen (1996). Toward a Profile of Student Software Piraters. Journal of Business Ethics 15 (8):839 - 849.
Janice A. Singer & Norman G. Vinson (forthcoming). Ethical Issues in Empirical Studies of Software Engineering. .
Don Gotterbarn (1999). Not All Codes Are Created Equal: The Software Engineering Code of Ethics, a Success Story. [REVIEW] Journal of Business Ethics 22 (1):81 - 89.
Eric Steinhart (1999). Emergent Values for Automatons: Ethical Problems of Life in the Generalized Internet. [REVIEW] Ethics and Information Technology 1 (2):155-160.
David M. Douglas (2011). A Bundle of Software Rights and Duties. Ethics and Information Technology 13 (3):185-197.
David M. Douglas (2011). The Social Disutility of Software Ownership. Science and Engineering Ethics 17 (3):485-502.
S. Chopra & S. Dexter (2011). Free Software and the Economics of Information Justice. Ethics and Information Technology 13 (3):173-184.
M. J. Wolf, K. W. Miller & F. S. Grodzinsky (2009). On the Meaning of Free Software. Ethics and Information Technology 11 (4):279-286.
Added to index2009-04-20
Total downloads23 ( #60,181 of 722,874 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #60,917 of 722,874 )
How can I increase my downloads?