Subject: Re: improving project maintainership
Date: Tue, 12 Feb 2002 12:15:03 -0500

RMS wrote:
>     Richard, you are careful to correct people when they say that you are
>     in the open source movement.  Well, the people you claim to be in
>     community' are not a part of the free software movement.
> That is correct.  These people are in our community, the free software
> community, but they do not support the free software movement.  Some
> support the open source movement.  Some may oppose both.  Some don't
> care.  The people in a particular community do not necessary agree in
> their views.

Communities in my view are defined by the people who claim to belong to
them, and not by other people claiming that they belong, like it or not.

In other words you can claim until the cows come home that all people
who use and contribute to open source are members of the free software
community.  That doesn't make it true.  It does further tick off, say,
members of the core Apache project who claim to be members of the open
source but not the free software community.  (And then proceed to back
up that claim by freely crossing the line between open and proprietary
licenses when they see an opportunity to make money.)

>     They are instead, members of the open source community.
> There is no separate open source community; we are all part of one
> community, even though we disagree and support different movements.
> Our community is the free software community because it was
> deliberately built by the efforts of the free software movement.

If you claim that the free software community properly contains or is
identical to the open source community, then you are claiming Apple,
Sun, IBM and Sony as members of the free software community.  This is
a claim that most observers (including those within the companies that
I named) would disagree with.  Yet each has contributed to (and been
cheered by) the open source community.

My inclusion of Sony in that list is particularly interesting.  They
have declared themselves members of the open source community with
(for instance) their support for Linux on the PlayStation 2 is an
opening salvo in their attempt to achieve a monopoly on PC hardware.
(The initial product is a proof of concept.  Expect the followup with
the PS 3 to take full advantage of the fact that they are the first
company selling 64-bit computers to the general home computing market.)