[OSGeo-Discuss] "Free": So what you're really saying is...

Bryce L Nordgren bnordgren at fs.fed.us
Fri Mar 2 12:12:44 PST 2007

IN CONGRESS, [Date of conference].

The unanimous Declaration of the Free and Open Source Software Developers,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to
dissolve the legal bands which have connected them with another, and to
assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to
which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect
to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes
which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all software are created
equal, that they are endowed by their Creators with certain unalienable
Rights, that among these are Distribution, Modification and the pursuit of
Buglessness.--That to secure these rights, Developers are instituted among
Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the developed, --That
whenever any Form of Development becomes destructive of these ends, it is
the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new
Licence, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers
in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Robustness
and Widespread Adoption. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Developers
long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and
accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to
suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing
the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and
usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce
them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to
throw off such Development, and to provide new Guards for their future
security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Developers; and
such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former
Systems of Licensing. The history of the present Proprietary Software
Development is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having
in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these
Clients. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

      [NOTE: Specific Facts omitted because they cannot come from a US Govt
      address.  See "examples" pertaining to King of England 231 years

      He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing
      importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent
      should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected
      to attend to them.
      He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large
      districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right
      of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and
      formidable to tyrants only.
      He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual,
      uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public
      Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with
      his measures.
      He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with
      manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
      He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause
      others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of
      Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their
      exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the
      dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
      He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for
      that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners;
      refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and
      raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
      He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his
      Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
      He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of
      their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
      He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of
      Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
      He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the
      Consent of our legislatures.
      He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to
      the Civil power.
      He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign
      to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his
      Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
      For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
      For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders
      which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
      For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
      For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
      For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
      For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
      For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring
      Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging
      its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit
      instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these
      For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and
      altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
      For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves
      invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
      He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his
      Protection and waging War against us.
      He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and
      destroyed the lives of our people.
      He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries
      to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun
      with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the
      most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized
      He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas
      to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of
      their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
      He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured
      to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian
      Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished
      destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the
most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by
repeated injury. A Liscense whose character is thus marked by every act
which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Commercial brethren. We have
warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an
unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the
circumstances of our disaffection. We have appealed to their native justice
and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common
kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our
connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of
justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the
necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the
rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the Free and Open Source Software
community, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge
of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by
Authority of the good Clients of these Codes, solemnly publish and declare,
That these Independent Codes are, and of Right ought to be Free Codes; that
they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the Proprietary License; and that
as Free Codes, they have full Power to establish Commerce, provide
Services, contract Alliances, and to do all other Acts and Things which
Independent Codes may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration,
with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually
pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

More information about the Discuss mailing list