Subject: Re: Do We Need a New Evangelist
From: David Welton <>
Date: Tue, 30 Mar 1999 15:25:32 -0600

> Open source software is software that meets a particular set of
> guidelines.  That follows from the way the term ``open source'' was
> invented.

IIRC, it was invented by a few people sitting around after VALUG

> The definition of free software is harder to get a precise handle
> on.  That's why the term ``open source'' was invented.

> It's that difference that makes me uncomfortable with saying that
> they are equivalent.  People were never quite sure what ``free
> software'' meant, so the term ``open source'' was invented and given
> a precise meaning.  That's fine, but you are trying to assert that
> the precise definition of ``open source'' captures everything there
> is to say about ``free,'' and I'm not sure about that.

Actually, as I'm sure Bruce will point out, the Open Source definition
started out, and is still more or less equivalent to the Debian Free
Software Guidelines (see  Given that Debian
permits only free software in our main distribution, we needed a way
to define what we meant by free, instead of arguing it out for every
single weird license that comes along.

Other people seem to have liked our definition, including the people
who put together the Open Source stuff, and thus, they borrowed it.

Check out: , which seems to
give a pretty thorough history of the whole thing.

David N. Welton               |   Fortune rota volvitur - descendo minoratus               |    alter in altum tollitur - nimis exaltatus    |        rex sedet in vertice - caveat ruinam! - |        nam sub axe legimus - Hecubam reginam