Subject: Free Software AND Open Source
From: "Federico Lucifredi" <flucifredi@acm.org>
Date: Tue, 12 Feb 2002 23:04:05 -0500


Nick Jennings wrote:

> > Besides, I find it quite hard to see how the Open Source community might
be
> > called the 'Free Software community' when, as you claimed a few messages
> > ago, they are not interested in what the FS people are trying to
achieve. It
> > is quite the case as if the Republicans demanded this country to be
called
> > the "Republican community", all of its people "republicans", while
granting
> > that there is a 50% of "Democrats" ot there that are part of the
community
> > while not necessarily sharing in its values.
>
>  Believe it or not, at one time Democrats and Republicans were actually
>  one party, the Republican-Democrat Party. Over time the split and now
>  are the representative extremes in capitalist politics:

Good historical reference, actually. But the point stands - Republicans are
not a subset of Democrats or vice-versa. Democrats would not feel too good
if suddenly R-Bush decided that instead of "Americans" we should use
"Republican", whatever the reason ("Republicans came first!" ;-)

Now, in the case of Open Source, it just happens to be the case that one of
the two terms contains the other (just to clarify: Open Source has a "less
Free" licensing, Free Software has a "more Free" licensing, hence the OS set
contains all the "open code" licenses and among them, the "open and Free
code one (GPL)).

> Do you really
>  want to see the FSF and OSI become at odds with each other in the
>  same way? But thats not my point...

Quite the contrary - but I do not see OSI being at odds with the FSF. I see
the FSF being at odds with the OSI, and I wonder why.

I do not like it. United people wind. Divided they do not. The FSF has no
need to contaminate their ideals, they just need not point fingers at OSI
saying "we're not like you". It is like pointing fingers at so-so
democracies and saying "we're not like you" when the Ideal is to defeat
dictators. One could instead point at the so-so democracy as to something
better than dictatorship, something that has a chance to evolve in full
democracy. They might not. Suure. but one might ask wether that is better
than a strong dictatorship, and say so.

In other words, the FSF should be showing banners that say "Open /AND/ Free"
and push people to buy into the Free part, while OSI pushes for the larger
(set, not issue) "let us see your code and..."

I strongly disagree with wasting time on issues like "GNU/"Linux or this new
thing that the community is called Free Software community /including/ Open
Source when that flyes in the face of any way people handle sets. If the
community is /one/, I wanted it called what it is or with a new name, I do
not want to hear it called "GNU/Community" out of ego when at the same time
the most reasonable half of the community gets constantly pointed at with
"we're not like them".

Either together or separately, but not both ways choosing to be with or
without the others when it is convenient.

In Argentina they say that "Los hermanos sean unidos" (The brothers must be
united), otherwise "the ones from outside devour them".

I think the FSF should save advocacy for constructive purposes. I strongly
disagree with some unwritten policies that tend to shut up people who
disagree with them by tainting them as "impure". Two examples

1)Organizing a conference in Europe, I suggested ESR as a keynote. The idea
was rejected because some people believed that he had "Open Source ideas".

2)I often give talks about Qt. in spite of it having been released under the
GPL for years now, the aftereffect of the mass campaign the FSF did against
KDE/Qt is still visible. I usually try to clear the mess on the subject but
"religious extremists" of the GPL  see the matter so strongly that they have
no problem with people pushing Java to them as Open while they still frown
on Qt's licensing "because it allows for multiple licenses, not GPL only".
This last week at Linux World Expo Europe. No comment.

there has been a "Stalinist streak" of control madness in some of my
dealings with FSF people and zealots (supporters), and I start to question
weather these things stem from the root. If they do, they are quite contrary
to the meaning of the word "Freedom" in the first place, which implies
multifaceted freedoms, not just "The FSF Freedom", which smells of "The
Redmond's OS" in its monopolistic nature.

I would like to see some cooperation between OSI and FSF, as there is a lot
of common ground (I changed the topic in that sense). If such a thing is not
possible, I would at least things called the way they are - I am tired of
GNU/ revisions of my vocabulary =)

-F