I am not considering ending the boycott of Apple, Lotus, and
Ashton-Tate. Instead, I am working to expand its effectiveness.
Several people on this list have already told me that they are not
going to buy from Apple, specifically because of the lawsuit. In
other words, they are participating in the boycott. One is in a
position to recommend large purchases. I know the boycott is having
I am now helping to set up a new organization, the League for
Programming Freedom, whose purpose is specifically to fight
look-and-feel copyright through the boycott and other methods. Our
demonstration against Lotus has received considerable national press
coverage, in which the boycott was described.
While the boycott cannot directly prevent a suit, it can raise the
cost of a suit to a point where some companies might decide not to
sue. It also helps unite public opinion against the principle of
look-and-feel copyright, and that can influence both courts and
It may be a shame that some people who previously bought Macintoshes
will be somewhat inconvenienced by boycotts by developers. However,
this is minor compared with the importance of the main issue. (The
Macintosh users who disagree are clearly motivated by different
Some people seem to think that, because I support free software and
software sharing, I am obliged to do so in a blind, undiscriminating
fashion. You might as well say that anyone who is against "killing
people" (i.e., murder) must, for consistency, also be a pacifist and
should surrender rather than fight an invading army or a looter.
I agree that my stubborn refusal to cooperate with a project, such as
porting GCC to AU/X, is a form of hostilities. If I treated innocent
people that way, it would be wrong. However, treating aggressors this
way is justified and necessary. I am not a pacifist.