[ox-en] (Im)material (was: Value of software)
- From: Thomas Uwe Gruettmueller <sloyment gmx.net>
- Date: Thu, 13 Jun 2002 03:36:30 +0200
On Tuesday 11 June 2002 01:16, Graham Seaman wrote:
You seem to be saying that software has a special, immaterial
form, which distinguishes it from other goods. I am saying
that there is nothing special about it in this way: all goods
have a design (the 'immaterial' part), and a physical
Hooray! Now I'm not alone on this list, anymore. Thank RMS! :o)
So, the material instances of a piece of software are the RAM
chips, hard drives, CDs, tapes, papers and brains that
constitute a "copy" of it.
The design, however, is an abstraction of the properties, shared
by all of the material instances. As both, a CD copy of M$
Bullshit 1.0 and a paper copy of M$ Bullshit 1.0 start with the
sentence "Satan wants you", the abstract "M$ bullshit 1.0" also
starts with this sequence of characters.
IMHO, this is very clear in English:
"I've just bought a copy of M$ Bullshit 1.0" refers to one
material instance that has changed its owner in regard to
material property, while "I've just installed M$ Bullshit 1.0"
refers to the abstract form. It is irrelevant which copy was
used. There has been at least one copy involved, but it could
have been any.
In German, one usually would say, "I've just bought M$ Bullshit
1.0" to indicate that a copy has been bought, which is quite
confusing, because literally read, it means that the abstract
thing "M$ Bullshit 1.0" has been sold, which is the intellectual
property of M$, and they certainly won't sell it.