The Russians Got Rooked

In 1988, West German hacker Markus Hess sold to the Soviet Union a copy of GNU Emacs for 2,000 marks. If that doesn’t sound remarkable, let me put it this way: An adherent to the belief that information ought to be free sold to a representative of a nation that did not recognize private property a piece of software freely available for redistribution by anyone.

The transaction really only makes ethical sense in one of these three systems, as much as they might seem to have in common. Not coincidentally, it’s also the system out of these three that has done the most to promote human freedom and the spread of information.