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GNU Taler 0.0.0 released (gnu.org)
276 points by Prygan on June 5, 2016 | hide | past | web | favorite | 187 comments



I don't have time for a full write up of this system yet, and a paper would be really great.

That said, here are to me the most salient points:

* Exchanges (essentially banks in Taler) must have external auditing; there are no in-built technology mechanisms for noticing or defeating over-issuance

* HTTP/HTTPS focused -- this is intended to be an API-layer tool

* Token based, so you could use it with any system you want

* Government audit friendly -- it tries for high levels of privacy for users and almost none for merchants as a conscious decision to be bad for money laundering.


>Unlike BitCoin or cash payments, Taler ensures that governments can learn their citizen's total income and thus collect sales, value-added or income taxes

Wow, what a feature ...


Indeed, that is an excellent feature.

Money transfers without the banks, but I can potentially get buy-in from my government and use it to pay my taxes (which I am happy to pay, because I am buying civilization with it)?

Sign me up!


It's funny that you think you're buying civilization with your taxes when the vasty majority of the money you give the government is used to actively destroy civilization. Bombs aren't cheap.


I don't need to (and don't) agree with every single thing my country/state/city does.

It would be rather silly to expect that, anyway. I mean, with friends and relatives, I compromise all the time. I'm sure they do, too. That's part of what life entails, compromising with the people and groups around you.

I don't see why my government would be any different; and just like with friends and loved ones, I get a chance to voice my opinion, both with regular changes of power (elections) and in regular conversation (freedom of speech!).

So funding a very small part of the country's oversized military budget, well, that's a compromise I make, because I generally like living here and am happy to pay for (most of) the other stuff.


Vast majority? Military spending is only 15.75% of the US federal budget. And that's just federal spending, citizens also pay taxes to states and municipalities, which rarely field combat aircraft.


While military spending (not counting veterans' benefits) in 2015 was around 16% of the total US federal budget[1,2], it made up 53.71% of the discretionary spending budget, dwarfing the next closest category, "government", at 6.54%.

From the BusinessInsider link below:

"The military budget is by far the largest single cost displayed. It is almost six times larger than the 2015 education budget and it is more than 34 times the size of NASA's 2015 operating budget. In total, the costs of running the military amount to approximately 16% of the overall 2015 US budget."

[1] http://www.businessinsider.com/the-us-defense-budget-is-mass...

[2] https://www.nationalpriorities.org/budget-basics/federal-bud...


And discretionary spending is a useful metric... why? Your taxes go to funding both discretionary and non-discretionary spending, so of your tax money, yes, military spending is only around 16%.


And one of the biggest Military Deployment in the past 10 years was 5,000 troops to Japan to assist in Fukashima.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/11/fukushima-navy-heal...

Even if you think that "Fighting ISIS" is destroying civilization (erm... ambiguous. They're destroying civilization. And we are destroying them. I'd say that's a net-gain), there are plenty of good-will projects from the military.

Like GPS, Nuclear Power, and more.


> Even if you think that "Fighting ISIS" is destroying civilization

"Funding ISIS" (or loosely supplies and training for sectarian groups the US had(s) no control over).


I daren't guess how many lists you're on now for putting those two words together.


And OSI and many more.


You also used by far the worst example (US). Most countries with militaries spend 1% or thereabouts.


With State and local spending, Military comes to ~10% of our tax dollars.


For some people, the overhead of separating segregating income streams into declared and undeclared doesn't make economic sense. For some people, a conscious decision to act illegally is inconsistent with their values. For some people the potential appearance of potential improprieties outweighs the benefits of cryptocurrency.

To me, that's really the rub. Many of the potential benefits of cryptocurrency are independent of how it may or may not facilitate slush funds.


BitCoin is political - it holds an anarcho-capitalist ideal where taxes are entirely immoral. Taler holds the opposite political ideal.


Bitcoin lacks untraceability. USG implementing taxes for bitcoin will be relatively straightforward. KYC focus on exchanges, merchant wallet registration, and then a gradual tightening of the screws.


Taler is being designed at Inria, in France. France is not a country with high levels of distrust of government or taxes.


Well, apparenty HN readers want universal basic income and punish tax evaders, so payment anonymity is bad, right?

I mean, either these two kinds of stories (UBI and privacy) have completely different sets of people who write and upvote comments, or majority of them just don't realize how at odds these ideas are.


Well, right now the banking system is transparent in a way that the gov can look at your bank accounts, but you can look at bank accounts on people at the gov. So it's an improvement.


For many it might be more attractive than BTC.


GNU projects are really awesome until people start implementing them.


Yeah, nothing they've ever done was a success...?


If you want to hand over all of your financial dealings to any government that wants to look at them, go right ahead. If GNU projects are so wonderful, then I should applaud those who stand by them.


Well, the world ain't black and white.

Taxes are immoral, but evading taxes is probably more immoral. How low the scales are on both these is dependant on who is ruling you at the moment.

Managing to build our societies around a non-cheatable taxation system would be a huge step forwards for our species.

Just think how huge systems we have built just because most people don't want to pay. How much freedom and creativity and goodwill would be unleashed if nobody had to spend energy around that problem at all. If it all would just work.

Perhaps Taler won't give us that, but at least they're trying. Perhaps some future project that stands on its shoulders will.


> Managing to build our societies around a non-cheatable taxation system would be a huge step forwards for our species.

I don't dispute that this could be true, but building our societies around untaxable money would be a similar step forward. The primary problem is the ambiguity, where the rich mitigate taxes/inflation while the poor run on the suckers' treadmill.

Although given the tendency for capital to influence government, and the speciousness of "majority rule", I don't particularly see an airtight taxation system leading to airtight taxation. In my opinion, it's more important to have exit for the minorities at the edges, than to attempt to soothe them with some centralized notion of fairness.


A system that is transparent (for collections, not payments) is ideal. It makes cheating harder, even if it doesn't solve all ways of cheating. Untaxable money would make cheating easier for lack of accounting.

An "exit for the minorities at the edges" will always exist by paying outside the system (possibly using a private/local currency.) In fact the exit will be easier to use and more beneficial for poorer people since they're dealing with smaller amounts in a local community of trust. Wealthy cheats who try to exit a system like this will loose the availability of a trusted money (a species) not controlled by governments.


Why are taxes immoral?


Spoiler: they aren't. It's an incredibly naive position that many "libertarians" hold.

It ignores the direct and indirect benefits that governments provide that support an entity being able to make money that can even be taxed.

It's quite a silly position.

Now specific taxes could be immoral and debate about the correct amount that it should be all you like... but the concept? No.


So... Your argument is, if the thing taking your money provides you with some benefit it's moral?


No, the argument is that humans are tribal creatures.

Imagine going off to live in the woods with a handful of other individuals, 100% off the grid and with only the tools you can carry. Inevitably, it wouldn't be long before you start insisting that everyone help out with farming or hunting or repairs or something. It's literally built into our DNA that individuals should contribute some labor to the betterment of the tribe in exchange for the security and comfort the tribe provides.

Now, fast-forward to the modern world. We have much, much bigger tribes called countries, and we have a way of talking about and trading human labor that we call money. But it's still true that you should contribute some of your labor (i.e. money) to the tribe (i.e. your country) in exchange for security and comfort (i.e. civilization).

Taxes are moral so long as the taxed individuals consent to be part of the entity imposing the taxes, and there are very few individuals throughout history who have actually been willing to opt out of civilization. And, since you're reading a page on the internet you are clearly not one of them.


> Inevitably, it wouldn't be long before you start insisting that everyone help out with farming or hunting or repairs or something.

Perhaps it would help understanding the other side if you were to look at it not as "insisting that everyone help out" but making trades with other people instead.

You start trading them food in exchange for shelter, etc. Rather than expecting everyone to deserve equal shares of all output.

Certainly this has happened many ways throughout history. The way you're suggesting is only one, and not only that, it's one which eventually falls apart as it scales up.

> Taxes are moral so long as the taxed individuals consent to be part of the entity imposing the taxes, and there are very few individuals throughout history who have actually been willing to opt out of civilization.

I'm not going to argue the "moral" aspect, but I think many people simply want to see the trade benefit of society and don't really care about much else. They're willing to tolerate the taxes for the sole reason that it's the only way for them to get access to wide trade networks currently. That trade benefit doesn't necessarily rely on much of what government provides and could, theoretically at least, operate completely without it, given the opportunity.


It's not so black and white. You can be against taxes but not want to opt out of civilization. If the government wasn't stealing around 40% of my income, I could spend that money on initiatives that benefit people other than just myself. Money could even be pooled by neighbors to pay for things. The thing is it has to be up to the individual how they spend their money, not left to guys with guns forcing you to hand over your money (the government).


If the government wasn't stealing around 40% of my income, I could spend that money on initiatives that benefit people other than just myself.

If the government was not stealing around 40% of your money I would come and take 100% of it and leave you bleeding in the gutter.


I'd rather not try out again what happens when we give people the option to help those less fortunate than them or let them suffer without any safety net for those people. History tells me that this won't work very well.

And if you don't like that the government is stealing your money you can always go somewhere else (and resign your citizenship if your taxiation is bound by that) where they steal less money. You can even go somewhere where the government doesn't steal any of your money (usually only in countries where there's no government).

At the end of the day democracy demands that we have to live with decisions that we personally do not like but the majority of people voted for. Everyone knows that this is not a great system, but we haven't found a better one yet. Not for lack of trying though.


> And if you don't like that the government is stealing your money you can always go somewhere else

if you can afford it.

> At the end of the day democracy demands that we have to live with decisions that we personally do not like but the majority of people voted for.

All major USA candidates are connected to Soros.


I think a better argument is that it's simply not a voluntary contract between two parties. It's theft by one party that has a monopoly on violence to enforce the theft on the other party. Until one day when the other party stops playing by those rules and shoots back.

"But you can vote to change it." If voting changed anything it would be illegal. Only an idiot believes "voting" means anything in a two party system where both parties are identical, and both are funded and given marching orders by massive international corporations. Dollars > votes and you only have the latter.


Property itself is not a voluntary contract between two parties. If you asked a poor person whether they "volunteer" to let a rich person live in a mansion while they live in a trailer, they'd obviously say no. It's only by a threat of violence that the rich person gets to keep that mansion.

Which is not to say that there aren't strong arguments to be made for a system based on property rights, but the idea that they're more "voluntary" than taxation is ridiculous.


This is one reason I am strongly in favor of open borders.

Based on your comment I'm going to assume you live in the United States, and the only reason your argument has teeth is because you feel stuck under the current system (and rightfully so). If it were easy to opt-out by moving elsewhere then the relationship between government and citizen starts to look a lot more like a voluntary contract.


Really sad to see all the libertarian viewpoints blanket down voted, mostly without any replies.

It really seems like tech has been hit with a wave of pro-big government thinking. My personal theory is that it's younger people who didn't have to deal with the threat of a draft and the baby boomers heavy handed social meddling.

The threat of being forced into a war you don't agree with will make you think twice about funding the entity making that happen. Same with watching decades of ineffective social engineering from above.


I honestly don't get all the libertarian angst about paying taxes.

As a Canadian, I pay a lot of tax. I grumble a bit during tax season - but I am incredibly grateful that I was lucky enough to be born in a prosperous country. A good part of my sucess (education, health care, etc) was paid for by other peoples taxes. So I am quite happy to return the favour.

I also want to live in a society that is compassionate and takes care of those who can not take care of themselves. The libertarian viewpoint seems like "I got mine, so I'm OK".


So I am quite happy to return the favour.

It's great that you're happy, but you don't have a choice. You'll go to jail if you don't "return favour".

I also want to live in a society that is compassionate and takes care of those who can not take care of themselves.

Simple logic will tell you that if a society is compassionate, it doesn't need force taxation. From dictionary: compassion is a feeling of wanting to help someone who is sick, hungry, in trouble, etc. If you are forced to help, it's not compassion.


S/he does have a choice - move to somewhere without taxes (Vanuatu was mentioned earlier as a possibility).

The fact that non-taxing countries aren't over-run with libertarian immigrants (despite being a tropical paradise!) makes me doubt the practicality of the concept.


It's often not a choice if you do not meet the countries requirements which are generally: be wealthy, have a higher degree and already have secured a job, or be married to a citizen/permanent resident. As another comment mentioned open borders would make it a choice.

A good test case is looking at movement within European countries that allow freedom of movement for other European citizens. I'm sure some people have moved to Andorra, Gilbratar, Liechtenstein, etc. for lower taxes but probably at a lower rate than people moving to places for employment opportunities.


Seriously? How "we're going to take your money and if you don't like it, you can move somewhere else" is even remotely close to being a voluntary choice in your mind?

You can try establishing some moral principles that will justify what government does (seriously, try this exercise), but let's not change meanings of words.


(I really shouldn't get into this discussion, as it seems that the HN crowd is down-voting everyone that slightly disagrees with the Big Government and is not into Populist Governments - whether Republican or Democrat. Alas, those are just Internet points and I do think the conversation can be productive.)

You live in a developed country that is natural resource-rich, with an established middle class and a somewhat functional government.

So on tax season you see lots of services being provided by Public Government and it seems that the price you are paying is reasonable. I really don't see it as someone "returning the favour", but there is no pointing in arguing there.

What can be argued is how much more effective would this creation and redistribution of the wealth be if it weren't this centralized. For this, most reasonable Libertarians will argue that societies are the most prosperous when there is the minimal amount of interference from the Government.

This is not to say that Governments and Democratic Institutions are not needed. They very much are. Without them, the natural resource-rich countries usually don't even manage to extract the value from the natural resources and transform it in long-lasting wealth. Just look at the Middle East, Venezuela or Brazil.

So, my "Angst" is not about paying taxes, but more about "it keeps growing and growing, how much is enough?" and "are we really better off with all the meddling in general affairs?"

---

I have a private health insurance company here in Germany. Terribly expensive, but so is the public one. The interesting difference is that the private one sent me a check last year because they got some savings and less expenses than expected, so they returning some of my money. Could you imagine anything like that happening with the budget of your country? "We actually managed to build those schools/highways/power plants/sewage treatment plant at a lower cost than expected, here is your share of the savings..."

Was there ANY TIME you saw a career politician speaking anything that resembled "You know what, perhaps society can work out these issues without us having to take a bunch of their resources."? The only place where I see anything like that is Switzerland, which is precisely a country known for being prosperous and NOT natural resource-rich, and with low taxes compared with other countries in the OECD.

You were already born into a rich country. The question is, how can we make existing poorer countries richer? Should a Canadian taxpayer really be funding Bombardier to keep its fat contracts and defend them from competition from Embraer [1]?

> "The libertarian viewpoint seems like "I got mine, so I'm OK."

That is so wrong is even offensive. The viewpoint is more like "I want to get mine, and I want to help the less fortunate with the product of MY work. I don't want to have slacktivists that think that "compassion" is sharing something on the Internet and thinking "someone else has to do something about it".

Compassion can not be mandated or enforced by any Government. Worse, the more we remove individual agency, the worse we all become. We stop thinking about our own actions and start thinking that we are being effective by proxy.

The viewpoint is also "Plenty of people don't get to get their share BECAUSE YOU KEEP THINKING THAT YOU KNOW WHAT IS BEST FOR THEM". In the USA, most of the Democrats that supported amnesty for undocumented immigrants were the ones benefiting from their low-wage jobs. The Dems always use amnesty as a way to get votes, but they NEVER introduce any serious immigration reform.

[1]: http://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/lessons-from-a-nasty-trade-dispute


> it seems that the HN crowd is down-voting everyone that slightly disagrees with the Big Government and is not into Populist Governments

HN downvotes libertarians who take the rhetorical position that "tax is theft" (or otherwise inherently immoral), because it's intellectually shallow.

There are many reasonable arguments to be made for reduced taxation, and you have presented many of them above. "Tax is theft" is not one of them.


> because it's intellectually shallow.

Still, the drive-by downvote is not helpful. It just helps to polarize and removes any chance of discussion. This becomes a gold mine to the populists.


It's funny that you take private health insurance as an example for a better working system. Those private health insurances are only open to better earning individuals. That's a concept which those evil downvoters here on HN do reject.


And it's funny how you'd rather downvote me reflexively instead of finding a way to engage in an useful exchange of ideas. Please, do not downvote because of disagreement. I am voting you up as a sign of confidence that you can do better.

Let's try again, then: please tell me what is inherently bad at having options for "better earning individuals"? And what guarantees can be given by you that your proposal for a "fully-public" healthcare system would be more effective than the existing ones?

It is very easy to say "If Canada/Denmark/Sweden can do it, the US can do it as well", but for every well-reputed public system in the world, there is a bigger number of total disgraceful care systems around the world.

> That's a concept which those evil downvoters here on HN want to prevent.

The evil part is not in the downvoting. The evil part is in joining the mob rule, acting without any critical thought just because and just side along with your group identity, and in the end still consider yourself "being part of the good ones".

What is that you want to prevent?

Me, a supposedly middle-class citizen, of being able to make a choice?

For whose benefit? Will the poor and less fortunate be in a better situation if we force everyone else to be stripped of their choices?

At what cost? Are the countries with actual "universal, single-payer healthcare" being the most effective when managing the resources from their citizens?


Cool down, i didn't downvote you.

> please tell me what is inherently bad at having options for "better earning individuals"?

The problem with that is that such a system doesn't work for a public health insurance if rich people can avoid their contribution to solidarity. If at all you will have system of two classes of people like we had in the middle age. Germany already has this two class system within their health system.


> The problem with that is that such a system doesn't work for a public health insurance if rich people can avoid their contribution to solidarity.

1) There is still nothing bad (immoral) at accepting a society where some people will "avoid their contribution to solidarity". Like I said up-thread: we can't code compassion into law, and every time we tried it, the long term consequences have been more damaging than beneficial.

2) I am not "rich", and I'd rather have the option. I want the best care that is possible at the most affordable price. The "public" system is not really free.

> Germany already has this two class system within their health system.

That is quite a bit of hyperbole, and wrong. There is nothing classist about a business that needs money to operate.

If anything, the real classism in Germany shows when you see something like the Künstlersozialkasse, where the Government pays part of the health insurance only to some type of people.


> There is still nothing bad (immoral) at accepting a society where some people will "avoid their contribution to solidarity".

That depends on your moral compass and your level of egoism.

> That is quite a bit of hyperbole, and wrong.

I guess you never tried to get an appointment with a medical specialists in Germany with a non private insurance.


> That depends on your moral compass and your level of egoism.

When talking about the individual actions, it certainly depends on the individual's moral values, but this is not being discussed at the moment.

In regards on how to turn society values into laws, it really doesn't. I am not saying that the "right thing to do" is to avoid community and eschew solidarity. I am saying that no one should be able to impose their values into any other group, no matter if it is a majority or not.

So, while I (personally) am all for a more equal and compassionate society, I am also saying that we will NOT achieve this while we have so many individuals expecting that this should be enforced by the Government.

> I guess you never tried to get an appointment with a medical specialists in Germany with a non private insurance.

I don't want to. I don't need to. If it's already known that the public service is of such low quality, why would I subject myself to it? I'd rather find ways to help other people to enjoy the higher quality service than forcing everyone to share the misery.

Like I said before, what I want is to get the best service at the most affordable price possible. Being "public" is not a requirement. Where is the guarantee that if we remove the private insurance companies, that the public offering will improve? Look at all the ongoing debate in the UK and the NHS, all of the cuts in their system. How effective is it really?

Also, reverse the roles just for a second: if you were a teenager now and saw that it keeps getting harder and harder to make a career as a Medical Doctor and that the Government is removing any possibility for you to do a job outside of their terms, would you do it?

---

Basically, what you are saying is that the "moral" thing is to have the Government dictating how much people should earn for their job. If you think about it, what you want is to have people that will dedicate their entire lives to become professionals and be forced to serve you and the "poor and less fortunate". And yet you want to pin on me the accusations of being selfish.


You keep mentioning voting. Some people reflexively downvote any post that talks about votes. If you didn't mention voting you may get fewer downvotes.


I don't care about getting the votes. I do care about pointing out irrational behavior.

In this case, I am pretty sure it was the person I responded to because I saw the karma score drop right along with the response to my previous comment.


So you don't care about votes, but you seem to reserve some storage place in your brain for your HN karma and deploy some real time monitoring for it?

> I do care about pointing out irrational behavior.

Can't find anything about "pointing out irrational behavior" in your post, just some rage about "unsubstantiated" downvotes.

I upvoted your parent comment now, maybe that helps cooling down.


There are plenty of interesting ideas in the libertarian school of thought - but all I have seen here is the repeated statement that taxation is theft, an idea that would be laughed at at the libertarian party convention. There simply isn't any good response to that viewpoint that hasn't already been posted in comments in this thread and many before it. Repeating the claim doesn't make it any less ridiculous.

Being forced to fight a war etc is something else entirely, and I doubt a comment focused on that would be blanket down voted.


Your argument would only be true if there was no alternative to government programs. Both private enterprise and charity can accomplish what is now being ineffectively done via the government. All without the highly immoral (imo) military and political spending the government prioritizes.

People should be allowed to keep 100% of their earnings. To involuntarily take a percentage is by definition immoral (theft).


Vote with your wallet, move to Vanuatu. Fine weather, happy people, no income tax, a government so small that the 800 police are also the army. You'll get the joy of being able to keep your entire income (unless you're a landlord). Spend it however you want. Of course, most of the people are subsistence farmers and fishermen, but you'll be able to organise all these private services you want yourself.

Also, private charity is only good for very public, acute problems. It sucks for non-cute things (eg mental health) and for long-term things (someone crippled for life).


Your argument would hold water if that money was earned with no help from federal or state at all.

So no use of public utilities, roads, etc, oh and your company can't employ people who have benefited from them either - like going to a public or state school.

Good luck with that.


While I don't consider myself a libertarian by any stretch, typically roads and utilities are two of the things that have pretty easy counter-arguments - make utilities free market (or something of the sort) and roads can be paid via tolls.

If you want something that doesn't have a good counter-argument, look at policing and contract enforcement (basically, a public legal system). That's something that can't be done very well by a private entity or multiple competing private entities.

Another problem without much of a counter-argument is looking at e.g. utilities and roads together (i.e. a monopolistic infrastructure with a non-monopolistic infrastructure). Roads are monopolistic because they control that land - in order to use it, you have to pay the owner what they want. This isn't too big of a problem because if you feel one route costs too much, you can simply take another route. Utilities on the other hand, can be provided by anyone, as long as they run the pipes, lines, etc. out to you. In itself, if you feel one utility costs too much, you can pick another utility. The problem comes with combining the two - typically to deliver the utility to you, they would also have to pay the road owner to run the lines along and/or make some agreement. So what happens when an exclusivity agreement comes into play?

Well, unless you don't want the utility at all, you have no choice but to either pay whatever fee they want you to, or move. When you move, it's possible an exclusivity agreement exists there too. One could argue that it's not any better the way it currently is (Comcast, etc.) however you couldn't make it better by making everything privately-owned without regulation, and you could make it better by going further towards the public side.


> Well, unless you don't want the utility at all, you have no choice but to either pay whatever fee they want you to, or move. When you move, it's possible an exclusivity agreement exists there too. One could argue that it's not any better the way it currently is (Comcast, etc.) however you couldn't make it better by making everything privately-owned without regulation, and you could make it better by going further towards the public side.

Smart, minimal regulation is often a better alternative to no regulation or to government ownership.

I think there's a simpler combination approach here which works out better in most if not all cases. Rather than having a central government to provide the utility themselves (ie: government gives you internet instead of comcast), instead use the government enforce competition, sharing of delivery lines, etc. This is the system that's been adopted in Canada and the UK and has generally solved the issue a lot better than the net neutrality rules and such which have been put in place in the US have.

It's cheaper on tax payers and still allows the market to ultimately provide many options and technological advances to consumers more rapidly. It's better for a government to make a market than to kill a market.


> make utilities free market (or something of the sort) and roads can be paid via tolls.

Yeah, like a lot of Libertarian "counter-points" though it's very handwavy and doesn't really hold up to much scrutiny when looked at for the economics of it.

We used to do that - know what happened? Mostly terrible "roads" and a few VERY expensive ways to travel. At some point all those systems got nationalized - why? Because it works better.


It would be entirely possible to do that if we first remove government from the equation.

Private companies and co-ops can and do operate roads, electricity production, waste collection, etc. It's just a matter of government standing in the way of it being a more direct transaction.

I'm not necessarily saying one way or the other is a better solution, but to invalidate their argument on the grounds that "it's like this way already" or "I grew up this way" essentially is bullshit.


What is a co-op, but another form of government?


Forced taxation is immoral since it violates the non aggression principle. You can still have voluntary taxation though.


And how does free loading on others avoid the non-aggression principle? Do you have examples of where voluntary taxation exists and works?

Do you think turning societies into country clubs is really workable, as in, does it scale? Tax payers are in effect members of civil society, but we have a technology that enables us to identify non-members so that we can each choose whether, and how, to exclude non-members from social and business ventures?


There are plenty of third world countries where you can pretty much avoid taxation, but it hasn't worked out terribly well for them.

There are benefits to belonging to civilisation. Voluntary taxation is just not realistic.


Letting a child starve doesn't violate the non-aggression principle either.



Taler is quite different from, say, bitcoin in that it tries to enable taxation while preserving anonymity. The main webpage has more info: https://www.taler.net/ . Unfortunately, it doesn't appear that a paper has been published yet. But, there are a couple of presentations at https://taler.net/news .


From reading their page and watching a talk I don't quite get how they merge taxation and anonymity. As I understand it what individual transactions are for is protected but the total money flows are available and thus taxable? I take it they have categories (capital gains, income) etc. attached to the money streams since they are taxed differently in most countries? That would open the possibility to do some metadata/timing etc. analysis and at least some of that anonymity would get leaked. I would also have to prove somehow that this transaction was for example a capital gains transaction etc. Similarly I don't see how sales taxes are handled. That would require a somewhat specific location identifier on my part, would it not (in the U.S. you'd need to provide your state)? I'm also not sure how tax deductions would work. For those I usually have to turn in receipts and declare why the content of the items is relevant for the work.

Let's say I want to buy a book that I think could be flagged for political reasons and would want to keep the fact that I bought that book secret. I'd still have to prove that it was purchase of an item (possibly even indicating a book depending on how complicated the tax code is).

It feels like in practice it would be a rather soft layer of anonymity. I don't know I feel like I just don't get how taxation and anonymity can be merged as soon as the tax code gets complicated a lot of information needs to be leaked.


Reading Taler's website (https://www.taler.net/) it is not clear to me whether customer and merchant must agree to use the same exchange in order to perform a transaction.

It seems to be implied by the key interactions of a Merchant: "Create a reserve based on an incoming wire transfer from a customer" and "Execute wire transfers to merchants in response to validated deposits".

If this is indeed the case, then there's an attractor towards centralization: both customers and merchants will be forced to sign up with the dominant exchange for maximum interoperability.

Either exchanges are given an incentive to federate with zero friction for users, or the Taler network will inevitably become a centralized monopoly.


I understood the website the same way you did: the merchant must use the same exchange as the customer. I hope we're wrong.

For the sake of anonymity though, it appears to me that using a new exchange would be easy as you would not require to log in with an email and a password, but rather with a kind of web-browser extension or something similar. Each merchant could then become its own exchange, and you would only see a few big exchanges whose role would just be to make everything simpler for the merchant, and that simplicity would come at the price of an increased fee. This is a bit like what PayPal or Stripe are doing today.


Previous discussion worth reading about Taler on HN a few months ago: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=10258312


Title should say something about what "Taler" is. It's obviously brand new. A post about ffmpeg 67.9.5 might assume that there's more knowledge in the world about what "ffmpeg" is.


While I agree with you, Thaler is the origin of the word Dollar.


Not all of us use the Dollar as our primary currency, and probably fewer of us are etymologists.


fewer of us are etymologists

But think how useful it would be in an emergency if we were.

https://xkcd.com/1012/


I'm pro-taxation, but cryptocurrency with built-in state surveillance doesn't seem like a good combination.


The surveillance appears to be only for vendors. Users (buyers) are anonymous.


I'm generally against state surveillance, but how else would you properly tax?


By taxing land!!!!!


This will make land ownership harder, which is a regressive measure and will further income inequality. Land and home-ownership represent significant steps towards generational wealth, because when you are paying off a mortgage you own the home while in the case of a lease you own nothing.

Literally, this you are advocating economic policy from the Ancien Régime.


It also makes it hard for existing landowners to own land, so they're more inclined to sell it, lowering the prices for everyone.

Also, even if you rent, your landlord is paying the tax, so they'll pass the cost on to you anyway.


That's why we need competing (crypto)currencies


So, semver is great and all, but 0.0.x releases just look silly, in my opinion. I've never seen someone zero index the least significant column before though, which makes it look even worse.

Would people actually expect w piece of software marked as version 0.0.0 to be anything more than a placeholder?


It's funny that programmers treat zero-indexing arrays and things as normal (even "correct"), but suddenly zero-indexing versions is something wacky. What's weird to me is that 0.0.0 isn't more common in the developer world, given how frequently we start counting from 0.


Because non-developers deal with versions. Sure, programmers use zero-indexing because it makes a lot of common things a lot easier, but I can't imagine anyone expecting that to extend to the regular world where the first item being 1 is ingrained, and makes more sense given the use.

For this reason, 0.x versions can make sense - they serve as a good flag for 'this is pre-release', because people expect version 1 to be the first released version.


Yeah, but 0-based array indexing is a convenience measure.

In the real world everybody would just call a[0] "the first element of the array".


Time to use lisps, am I right? :)


I find 0.0.x versions wacky too. Version numbers (in contrast to array subscripts) are only useful in relation to previous version numbers. Ideally when a new version of the software I use comes out I can decide whether to upgrade only by comparing the version number with the one I use. E.g. in semver increased minor number means "new functionality added". So when 0.0.0 version comes out, what does it mean, compared to the absence of software? No functionality at all? :)


What does 0.0.1 mean, compared to the absence of software? You can't compare 0.0.1 to anything if there's no other previous release.

Starting at 0.0.1 is at least just as arbitrary as starting at 0.0.0, and your aversion to starting at 0.0.0 suggests you're making implicit assumptions about what the non-existent 0.0.0 means when starting at 0.0.1. But if 0.0.0 doesn't even exist then you can't really make any assumptions about it.

At least 0.0.0 is clearly the very first version of something. Starting at 0.0.1 doesn't make clear that there isn't an earlier 0.0.0.


For me, personally, 1.0.0 feels right as the first version. Compared to nothing, the first release is a major and there have been no minors.

I guess I don't really see version numbers as indexes but as cardinals, hence why leading zeroes seem weird to me.


It means "don't use this yet".


To me, 0.x version numbers suggest that a project is not stable and can change in incompatible ways at any time... or be abandoned, even. 0.0.x, even more so. That said, some projects stay in 0.x territory for so long that this no longer applies.

0.0.0 is kind of weird... for some reason it suggests to me that zero lines of code have been written so far. (If there was code, the version number would have been higher.) But this is obviously not the case here. I do wonder what versions they used before this release?

Then again, I know of at least one non-trivial project that used negative version numbers... I guess, in the end, it just means what the developers say it means.


Maybe it's because I come from a physics background, but 0.0.0 also seems to me as the version for the first thought of building something. So after one writes any amount of code, it should get incremented to 0.0.1 or something..


0.x.x means pre-release to me (as in, sure - play with it, but don't fucking rely on it working).

0.0.0 is bizarre though.


> "A pre-release version MAY be denoted by appending a hyphen and a series of dot separated identifiers immediately following the patch version. Identifiers MUST comprise only ASCII alphanumerics and hyphen [0-9A-Za-z-]" [1]

I think they should use 0.0.1-pre instead of 0.0.0. The version 0.0.0 I would consider as "the development have not started yet".

[1] http://semver.org/


I think this advice is even more pertinent:

> How should I deal with revisions in the 0.y.z initial development phase?

> The simplest thing to do is start your initial development release at 0.1.0 and then increment the minor version for each subsequent release.

Source: http://semver.org/#how-should-i-deal-with-revisions-in-the-0...


I don't get it why I got down-voted since I haven't suggested to use 0.0.1-pre. I have just pointed out that is weird to release version with only zeros - we usually take zero as point to "nothing, void" for non-techie folks (most of end-users).

Oh If you would search SemVer repository on GitHub then there are some mentions about 0.0.0 [1]. It is interesting point of view but I prefer non-production versions ready as 0.x.y, where x is greater or equal to 1. So yes, the 0.1.0 is way more meaningful and I recommend it.

[1] https://github.com/mojombo/semver/issues/221


I'm happy to see the 0.0.0 release - it means that I might just be using this some day. Few weeks ago, having not heard about the project for a while, I was afraid it had become vapourware.


I'd argue it is a placeholder, not a proper release - it's an announcement for interested people to look into it and join the project.


From the release notes:

> This is a first alpha release

Alpha typically means feature complete, but untested and thus unsuitable for general release. You don't need to use good-looking version numbers for that.


Beta means what you think alpha means. Alpha means that some features are done, but others aren't, and the entire application is still subject to change.


If that would be what alpha means, there's no way to indicate non-feature completeness...


It's not even remotely close to being feature complete as of speaking.


What major features are missing? It looks like everything is there.


0.0.x = proof of concept? 0.1.x = first actually usable version (but may be buggy, missing features, etc.)


Server recommends starting at 0.1.0 – starting at 0.0.0 essentially means (to me at least) that nothing has been written and nothing has been released. Initial versions (IMO) should begin with 0.1.0.


Is there any document or talk that really explains how all the crypto pieces fit together?


This is cool but if you do look at where big investments are being made it's more in smart contract/block chain. Considering the extreme regulatory and DOJ pressure to expose all parties in any fiduciary transaction I'm skeptical we'll ever see an explicitly government-approved system with anonymity.


> I'm skeptical we'll ever see an explicitly government-approved system with anonymity.

Me too but I also think that it's increasingly not possible to scale up a governance system without anonymity.

Suppose you have a list of incumbents that will pay you off to kill competition, and a list of new entities that affect those incumbents. That's a recipe for stasis and stagnation. Arguably this has already occurred in the medical arena on multiple levels.

You need a 'fog of war' to allow innovation to occur. Otherwise you're depending on the goodwill, patriotism or honesty of officials, things that could dry up when you most need them. I suppose this could also be used as an argument for limited protectionism and incubation.


gnu devs peomoting chrome. im surprised. I would have expected "only tested on iceweasel" .


The name is rather poorly chosen, given that thousands of banks use Thaler (with an H) to handle their payments...


Is there a white paper of the protocol somewhere?


Selling my bitcoin now!


If you consider how much money is embezzled / stolen by (most) corporations by avoiding paying taxes for all the services they benefit from, in the countries they operate in, this seems a very good feature.


We detached this subthread from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11840853 and marked it off-topic.


You can only call tax avoidance stealing money if your prior assumption is that all money earned belongs to the state as the owner, and you can only have whatever the state gives you by its generosity. That is a pretty big assumption.


That assumption is unnecessary. The only assumption needed is that taxes belong to the state. Property is defined by law.


I don't see what "taxes belong to the state" may mean. Taxes may mean a) some set of laws regulations that create legal framework for some money being paid to the government and b) money that has been paid to the government according to the framework above. The only way you can steal tax money is when you first pay the taxes and then get some of that money back illegally. I'm not sure there are a lot of corporations that do that. A lot of them do it legally, by means of corporate welfare, but while it can be despicable, it does not qualify as theft. Failure to pay taxes usually is illegal, but can not be sensibly defined as theft.


Law used to define some people as property. It's extremely reductive to equate the concept of property with what the law happens to say.


[flagged]


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Please don't do these things when commenting here. Instead, please (re-)read the guidelines and follow them, by posting civilly and substantively or not at all.

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Wealth is created by small companies too, perhaps even more so that the big ones. However, they don't have the resourcers to evade taxes like the big ones do.

You realize what that means, right?


A company creating value and the same company committing theft are not contradictory. One can take commendable actions AND reprimandable (?) actions.

As far as whether there is an obligation to pay taxes, well, "render unto caesar what is due to caesar" and all that.


reprimandable (?)

Deplorable.


reprehensible


Ah, yes, because corporations exist in a vacuum and generate money from thin air, typically using up none of earth's natural resources.


And they usually pay royalties on said resources? Pay for rights to said resources? Trust me, we learned a long time ago how to extract $$$ for said resources.


By resources you mean financial systems, roads and other infrastructure, legal systems, access to educated workers, being defended by an army...?

I could accept a company making profit and paying no taxes if they didn't have offices, staff, use roads or electricity etc. It would be pretty hard to do anything as a company "outside" the framework of a society.


I was responding directly to the comment about natural resources. Your comment is entirely unrelated to what I said.


I noticed the discussion on natural resources so I just wanted to point out the obvious - that corporations exist within a society and use a multitude of important "resources" to function at all. That's why it's pretty natural to have corporate taxes too.


> I noticed the discussion on natural resources so I just wanted to point out the obvious

While what you said is certainly obvious, it had nothing to do with what I said.

> That's why it's pretty natural to have corporate taxes too.

It is absolutely idiotic to have corporate taxes. Corporations are nothing more than proxies for the shareholders. All profits are passed to the shareholders. Once they are, those shareholders then have to pay taxes on those profits.

You end up with double taxation.

In recognition of this, we create something called a capital gains tax, which is less than the normal tax rate ... and then tax corporations to compensate for that. Nice.

You end up with a situation where most of the taxes the corporations pay end up being passed to the consumer and the rich get a tax break. Is that what you support?

Get rid of capital gains, tax all income at the same level, and get rid of the corporate tax.


I'm sure there are structures where corporate tax is 0 and dividends are taxed at the same rate as any other income. That is a reasonable structure.

If one wants a cap gains tax that equates to the double taxation then cap gains would be higher than income tax. Could also be reasonable.


How do you think we make roads, energy?


With natural resources. Which have royalties, permit fees, etc. Read what I wrote again.


Money is created through loans. It's not created by corporations (other than commercial banks who are in the business of loaning).


Money is just an unit of account, and in this context rather uninteresting. I could give you a billion Reichsmark, and you would be no better off than you would have been if I gave you a roll of toilet paper.

Corporations and individuals create wealth, which benefits us all.


If you owe money to someone and don't pay it deliberately... what else would you call it other than stealing?

Corporations get many benefits from the government (as do we all, in different ways) so is only fair that they pay taxes.

The corporate tax rate is less in recognition that they are capital generators.


If you owe money to someone and don't pay it deliberately... what else would you call it other than stealing?

Defaulting. I understand that the RIAA has succesfully popularised the term "stealing" beyond its legal definition, but that doesn't mean we should expand it even further.


Defaulting on a debt is stealing - especially if the debt is, like taxes, principle only - it's a specialized form of it.

Besides defaulting applies to loans. In this case you're specifically withholding something that is legally someone else's.

That's theft, no matter how you cut it.


Yeah, because it would be much better if none of these companies existed.


If that's the only thing keeping them afloat, very much better.


Companies need to freeload in order to exist?


Did the parent imply that?


Yes, of course.


No, it implied it would be better for them to pay their taxes.


Why is it a matter of course?


[flagged]


Your comments in this thread repeatedly broke HN's guidelines by being uncivil, unsubstantive, and inflammatory. This kind of flamewar is what we're trying to avoid here. Please don't do it again.

Instead, please (re-)read the following explanations of what HN is looking for, and post civil, substantive comments only from now on.

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Linux. Systemd. GNU. YaST. Git. Blender. These are all programs under the GPL, and the reason they are so successful is because of the defense that copyleft provides against proprietary software.

In short, no. Not dead in the water.


Isn't this deployable as a service anyway? You don't even distribute the executable, so no need to distribute your source.


Some parts are AGPL, which means that you do.


All software primarily used on Linux systems. You'll never ever see systemd outside Linux. Ever. BTW good luck with that mess too. Same with yast. You'll never see that outside Linux. Ever. You're creating quite the ecosystem of NIH and Linux only software. Btrfs, systemtap, etc. So "successful" is a seriously objective word as you use it. But good luck, you're going to need it methinks.


> Btrfs, systemtap, etc.

It's not the Linux community's fault that Sun wanted to create a license that would make it GPL incompatible. If it were compatible, it probably would've been merged years ago. And CDDL is still copyleft, but it retains all of the restrictions with none of the benefits for users. So it's really the "worst" of both worlds. But you can put that in your pipe and smoke it if you like.

> So "successful" is a seriously objective word as you use it.

Did you mean "subjective"? Because I agree that those projects are objectively successful.


It's funny how other open source projects had no problem adopting ZFS or it's license. Perhaps the issue isn't Sun or the CDDL but rather Linux and the GPL. Perhaps it's the GPL that isn't compatible with others. But that is the entire point of the viral nature of GPL. "You don't have to use our code." Your right and people are beginning not to. I mean seriously if you are so full of zeal you can't see Linux starting to circle the drain because of NIH, refusing to look outside their little tunnel vision world, while they reimplement things others are already solving, and reimplementing them badly, well then enjoy the ride. No one will obviously get you to see reason. But again enjoy your systemd and btrfs and systemtap and poorly implemented Linux only software.

Also I don't smoke, so no pipe was involved in these posts.


It's funny how other open source projects had no problem adopting ZFS or it's license.

Not true; here's OpenBSD/OpenSSH developer Damien Miller on the CDDL:

  The CDDL is even more restrictive than the GPL and is
  far more legally pernicious. In particular:
  
  Clause 3.5 is a GPL-like "must distribute source" requirement.
  
  Worse, clauses 3.3 and 9 have no place in a free software license.
  
  I don't understand how anyone who has read the license could say that it
  is even remotely "compliant with the BSD philosophy". The GPL is far
  more acceptable than the CDDL.
  
  > Is there a chance to have star integrated into OpenBSD?
  
  Not with this license. If you want the BSDs to use star, then maybe you
  should license it with a BSD license.
http://marc.info/?l=openbsd-tech&m=110806948606417&w=2

Here's Theo de Raadt:

  And now, because of "ZFS and dtrace", we should throw that entire
  Bostic-started effort out the window.  Screw freedom, I need ZFS and
  dtrace. (...)

  Don't be fooled.  In fact, I urge our users to investigate every
  person who has mentioned "ZFS and dtrace" together in the past.  Their
  agenda is not the one that you or I believe in.  Their agenda is
  division.
http://openbsd-archive.7691.n7.nabble.com/CDDL-vs-GPL-and-ma...


Yeah so I'm not sure first of all quoting theo or openbsd folks is adding value to your argument. They are known to be quite, how should I say this, on the extreme side of things.

And just because obsd holds this view that doesn't refute my statement. Illumos and FreeBSD are both OS and both are using it. So it is what it is.


Illumos didn't exactly "adopt" ZFS; it's a clone of Solaris created by core Solaris engineers, which just happened to live on beyond its original project. So essentially there's one project. Meanwhile, the GPL is used in FreeBSD, OpenBSD, MacOSX, Windows - and even SmartOS, an Illumos distribution.


I'd be happy to use illumos or BSD if the community had strong convictions about free software. They generally don't, so I'll pass.


I'm not really sure how you can say that but again enjoy your zeal induced tunnel view. You can't get any more free than the BSDL short of public domain. And neither OS has any binary only parts or parts only available if you pay for them that I am aware of. So again i don't know how you view them as not having strong convictions about free software.


They have no issue with their work being used for proprietary software. That's the opposite of having strong convictions about free software. Sure, they provide a mostly free operating system but they allow other people to take that code and enslave users. And I say that knowing that Linus doesn't care about software freedom either, it's just a development model to him. But at least it uses the GPL, so any code I contribute will never be used to enslave users.

"More free" is not the point. It's caring about users enough to not allow someone to take advantage of them by taking your work and giving them a proprietary version. That's what the GPL provides which the BSD doesn't.


[flagged]


"They have no issue with their work being used..." Stop. Right there.

No, you can't stop there. You can't quote half an assertion and then attack that. It's called a straw man, and a fairly obvious one.


These days, git would be primarily used on OSX.


While parent post may be overstating , GPL does hinder software adoption now days.


Why? Users can still use it, programmers might not be able to make proprietary forks of it, but can certainly write programs to interoperate with it.


Well, it is not so much about the forks I think. A lot of the software now days is just a building brick you use to build something bigger. And the problem with the GPL licensed bricks is that you can use them only with GPL bricks. And I am talking about the code reuse as a whole not just the libraries. Or let's take a look at it from another angle.. Whatever licenses you choose to use in the end is about the community of the project, and GPL is firmly in the "If you are not with us, you are against us" domain, which community wise works only if there is big boogey man. And there used to be one. But now days most of the biggest companies do open source, so it is not so clear who is the boogey man, and whom is GPL protecting us from :)


When I hear "GPL" I get an instant software arousal so I disagree.


Taler uses various *GPL3+ licenses, including parts under AGPL3+

Linux, Systemd, Git, and Blender are all (L)GPL v2, and none are AGPL.

There are thousands of open source projects I could name that are far reaching and have enormous success, released under permissive licenses such as Apache, BSD, MIT, etc.

If the system wasn't so fucked I'd down vote you.


Noted. Good to know that people have forgotten how hard the free software community had to fight to be able to even have free software. I don't understand the sudden amnesia when Microsoft releases one part of their stack under the MIT license while still enslaving users. It's doublethink.


Did I once mention proprietary software or Microsoft?

Is that really how you see the software world, GPL vs Microsoft/proprietary?


Free software is pretty much the opposite of proprietary software, yes, and GPL is the single license that enabled the free software revolution we are all benefiting from.

Sure, the battle against greed is far from over, but the benefits are already quite obvious.

If people and companies had kept to proprietary EULA and BSD as the only options, we would still be in the dire situation we were in the 90s.


>Free software is pretty much the opposite of proprietary software, yes, and GPL is the single license that enabled the free software revolution we are all benefiting from.

I call BS. GPL just happened to have the GNU stack with it. If the same toolchain (gcc, etc) were released as BSD/MIT from the beginning, it would have been just as well or better.


GNU was created on the basis of the GPL. It's not an accident that the "GNU stack had the GPL", it was a plan from the beginning to create a system which people could use in freedom. The toolchain would not exist if Stallman hadn't made the decision that user freedom was something he should work towards. And we wouldn't have any free software without GNU, because that's what the world was heading towards in the 70s and 80s. BSD would still be proprietary, since Stallman talked to Berkeley to convince the developers to release their improvements to Unix.


>GNU was created on the basis of the GPL. It's not an accident that the "GNU stack had the GPL", it was a plan from the beginning to create a system which people could use in freedom.

The accident was that the plan was conceived by Stallman and involved GNU/GPL.

What I'm saying is a similar plan with BSD/MIT licenses, if it was initiated by another guy first, would be just as good.

In other words that the reason GNU/OSS got that far was that they provided software people needed at the right time -- not because they were GPL as opposed to BSD licensd.


What makes you so sure that, had the GNU stack been BSD/MIT licensed and as popular, that Microsoft etc. would not have come out with products featuring the same software but with proprietary extensions and closed licenses?


>What makes you so sure that, had the GNU stack been BSD/MIT licensed and as popular, that Microsoft etc. would not have come out with products featuring the same software but with proprietary extensions and closed licenses?

Was makes you so sure that it would matter? The original software will still be there and free for any modification one would want to do.


A majority (if not most) of the contributions to the Linux kernel come from developers paid to do so by the likes of Intel, Google, IBM etc. [1]. Do you have any reason to believe that said for-profit companies would have contributed to the same degree to a BSD/MIT licensed Linux kernel instead of focusing on a Linux kernel with proprietary extensions under a closed license?

[1] http://www.linuxfoundation.org/news-media/infographics/who-w...


Do you have reason to believe that they wouldn't have, or that they would do so, if it were GPL3+ licensed?

Apple famously doesn't provide any "recent" GNU tools because they're GPL3+ licensed, when they were previously GPL2.x and less restrictive.


Do you have reason to believe that they wouldn't have

Maybe, as a data point: how many of the manufacturers' contributions to Linux are MIT licensed, so that they can be picked up by *BSD as well?


None of those things makes the original software unavailable to use.


it would have been absurd to write that toolchain with a "kind of free" license. why would RMS bother? it's not like he didn't have access to existing software.

i'm guessing you think that's just "incidental"... but that's a very strange argument to ever make if you think anything has any explanatory power at all.


>it would have been absurd to write that toolchain with a "kind of free" license. why would RMS bother? it's not like he didn't have access to existing software.

BSD/MIT is not "kind of free". It's freer (more people can do more things) than the GPL.


that depends on your opinions regarding free software. people who support the GPL would probably call BSD/MIT less free, because the software is "free, for now," or "free, for me." that might not be good enough for actual freedom to be maintained, along the lines they're thinking about freedom.

i'm not going to argue about that though. surely you're familiar with the territory.

the point, though, is that the GNU ethos is the reason for the GNU tools, and the onus would be on you to show that that ethos was interchangeable with some other in order to get where we are today.

when you're explaining an event in history, you need to take the facts and look for "why did things happen this way after that particular event?" you can't just substitute a comparable event and say "everything would be the same." if we're talking about the legal basis of this or that for the GPL and BSD licenses, sure, you can interchange things and show that "here, in this case, you'd be regretting GPL, and in this case [etc etc etc]." but for the course of history, you actually have to be much more careful with your scope... it's unlikely that one change (one that the primary person involved, RMS, himself took to be the central point of all it) could have no effects, or no salient ones.

notice how these points are distinct. RMS wouldn't but have written the GPL. history worked out how it did. these are different than your or my opinions on the merits of varying degrees of permissiveness in licenses.


It's freer

That depends on your goals and definitions, of course. The goal of the GPL is to ensure freedom of the code, by placing demands on the distributor. The BSD license does not do this, so a developer is "more free" with BSD-licensed code. However, the code is "more free" when it's GPL-licensed.

Which you prefer is a personal choice, but it's kinda pointless to argue which one is "more free" as the licenses have different interpretations of freedom.


"electronic payment system providing anonymity [...] in any existing currency"

This sounds pretty much like money laundering to me.




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