Subject: Re: Open letter to those who believe in a right to free software
From: Richard Stallman <>
Date: Fri, 29 Oct 1999 03:30:13 -0600 (MDT)

    Were the decisions to free them concerned with social morality?  X11
    definitely not by your account; it was an economic decision.

The decision about X was neither a moral decision nor an economic one.
There are many kinds of motivations.

The decision to free the BSD software was at least partly a moral one;
it was not at all economic, as far as I know.

    The question, AFAICT, was not "did anyone set out to create free
    software for moral reasons?"  It was "absent moral reasons, would
    _any_ free software exist?"

That is not the question I thought we were discussing.

I am sure some free software would exist without moral reasons, but I
don't think a complete free system would exist without moral reasons.
Moral reasons were central to the development of GNU/Linux, and
important in the development of the free BSD systems as well.

      The others would have existed
    independently of GNU.

"Others" here means other than BSD.  But what are these others?
We only seem to be discussing one other free project, X11.

There are other free software projects, of course, even long ago; but
before we can talk about what reasons influenced their development, we
need to be clear on WHICH projects we are talking about.