Welcome to the Stone Age!

I still can’t believe it. Where is the hidden camera? Hey, it’s too early for the “Joke of the Year” contest!… Anybody to wake me up, please!…

But no. Here is the site dedicated to the project. Here is the proclamation of FSF France. Here is the Cory Doctorow’s comment in BoingBoing.

In short, some people in France (the French RIAA, and affiliated organizations) are going to force all free software to change its license, and to close its code – or to cease existing. Said by them in plain text. Seriously. No joke. Again, no joke. They mean it.

What I will offer to give them is an ultimatum:

“Drop the idea for such a law – or we will comply with it!”

Very few free or open source projects are developed entirely in France, by French programmers. And if even one of the developers does not agree to the licence change, it will be illegal – it will be a copyright agreement breach, an offense under the copyright law. Also, the programmers in other countries cannot be held responsible for disclosing the code. So, what the French copyright freaks plan is both technically impossible and legally offensive. The IT people in France simply cannot do that – it is beyong them.

What they can do is to stop using any free or open source software (using it will naturally be a crime under this new law). Everything that is using free software (eg. embedded devices) will be, naturally, illegal, and must be recalled from sale, and replaced with a non-FOSS based items. All world companies that offer free software, or services built atop it, should also stop providing these to France, or they could be legally prosecuted.

What will happen on The Day After this law is enabled?

To start with, Google, Yahoo, Amazon and multitudes of other Net companies (many of them French) will have to stop offering services for France – their services are built atop free software. Not that any in France will be able to see this, by the way. Every single bit that comes in or out of France is going at some point through servers based on free software. If they are switched off, France will be cut off the world. (Not that any in France will be able to see this, too. Guess what will happen to the Net traffic between practically any two places inside France.)

Sure, there are Windows-based servers. Good proprietary closed-code thing. But almost all the routers and switches that connect every two PCs, have also embedded free software. Every single network in France will cease existing. Including the corporate networks of the copyrihgt freaks… (By the way, the TCP/IP stack of Windows is almost entirely based on the BSD Unix stack – another piece of free software. More code in open. Sorry, pals, your Windows is exactly as illegal as Linux!)

So, France without the Net? Problem of the computer eggheads only? Sorry, pal. Do you see that smoke there? Some building’s on fire. And the firemen won’t come – their phone lines are transferred over the Net. The phones of the ER, too. The coordination of your police and military. The plans of your government. Trains still being driven by people? Yes, but how exactly you’re going to book a place?… Got a car? Its computer has a lot of open code in it, you criminal!…

Anyway, what you need a car for? Going to work? What do you work, dear? Making photos? Forget it. There is open source in your camera, and the printing machine is a Linux PC attached to a photo-printer under the cover. Textile worker? Your mills have open source in them. Farmer? Noone will come for your grapes, their transport is coordinated over the Net, and a lot of open source works there, too. Laundry worker? Like that new laundromat of yours, with the 99 programs?…

Manufacturer of legal copyrighted music CDs, and movie DVDs? Stop that, too. Most, if not all your machines, have at least a piece of FOSS inside them – if not all of their software. (BTW, your kids liked that “Finding Nemo” movie? The software that generated it is open source. The software behind the effects in most other movies. Most of the software in most music instruments of your favorite band. And most of the software in the CD/DVD player you use.)

Or you are a musician, or creative writer, and support by heart this inititive? OK, ok. BTW, that sound mixer of yours have got some open source inside it. Want it rewritten, changed by an entirely closed one? Sure, here it is. Just 25% higher cost… Robbery? What do you mean, pal? I paid for 10 human years of work to write this code internally, instead of just getting some open source for free. I’m a business, not a charity!… And you, the creative writer, with the illegal PC! Get instantly to the mechanic typewriter! You don’t like it? Here is a PC completely devoid of any open code. Just 40% higher cost. Robbery? What do you mean, pal?…

Dear French copyrighters! Push this into law, and probably a half of the machines produced during the last 5 years will be instantly illegal. Do you believe that Siemens, IBM or Sony will start producing special, custom, all-code-specially-written-from-scratch everything just for France? Or you hope that soon all Europe will go this way, and all the business giants will allow this, just for the pleasure to have their costs up some two- or three-digit percent?

Theoretically, it can be done. But meanwhile, you will have to live in a Stone Age, if you really implement this law. And at the time you will have a normal life again, the other nations will probably fly to other galaxies and discuss the everyday aspects of a dozen different types of immortality. Again a Stone Age.

And you will have deserved it. For there is, where stoneheads can only take you – and there is, where a follower of stoneheads only deserves to live.

Drop the idea for such a law – or we will comply with it!

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