Subject: Re: the walls have ears
From: Richard Stallman <rms@gnu.org>
Date: Sat, 29 May 1999 00:59:37 -0600 (MDT)

    > That depends on how you measure freedom.  You can measure by what is
    > permitted by the license of a specific release of the program, or you
    > can average the freedoms that the users of the program have.
    > ...

    Richard, this is FUD.  The fact that there is a non-free derivative of the
    BSD line (one of several, actually) produced by a company that is using
    the "BSD" name in its business and products is completely separate from
    the question of the freedoms granted by the BSD license.

With the words "freedoms granted by the BSD license", you're choosing
to talk only about only the first of those two methods of measuring
freedom.  So what you say is true, but it doesn't address the point I
made.

However, you have done so in a way that is less than explicit, a way
that does not acknowledge that you are ignoring the other alternative,
as if your statement is meant to be a denial of my point.

    To illustrate this, let me point out that there is *no* such thing as a
    "non-free" "version" of Apache.

I have been told that a non-free modified version of Apache, which has
added encryption features, is widely used.  (I don't know whether the
name it is known by includes "Apache".)  If this is not true, that would
be good news.

      Unlike BSD, unlike Linux, we have been
    very tight on controlling use of the name Apache, even so far as to make
    the point to vendors selling servers based on Apache (or even simply
    including Apache + their own patches on their own systems) that they can
    not call it a "version" of Apache,

I see, they are not allowed to call it "a version of Apache".  In that
case, we are talking about two different questions; I about how the
code in Apache is used, and you about whether it is called "Apache" or
some other name.

I have no criticism of your policy about the name, but it doesn't
address the issue I was talking about.

    X11 wouldn't have made it at all had vendors decided to not use the code
    they were given for free.

I am not quite sure what this means, but I think some of the funding
for work on X was obtained by letting the vendors have their way with
the users.

However, I don't think that that contradicts what I said about X.  We
are talking about two different issues.  I am talking about the
widespread use of proprietary versions of X and what that implies
about the license.  You seem to be refuting the idea that it would
have been better if X had never be written--something that I don't
think anyone here has asserted.

Please remember, I did not say we would be better off if X did not
exist.  I say they have chosen a license that fails to defend the
community's freedom, but that doesn't mean the project as a whole was
a bad thing.  Likewise, I don't think that working on BSD or Apache,
as those projects are done, is a bad thing.  I just think this one
decision is a mistake.


To the others:

I think that this example sheds light on the original topic: why
people are so often angry at me.  It illustrates the tendency for
people to see harsh condemnation in something I said, when it is not
there.  The only real condemnation going on here is aimed at me: I am
being accused dishonesty (FUD implies lying).

I am sure that Behlendorf intends this accusation seriously, and
really does analyze my statement as dishonest.  The point is that once
he found that way of interpreting my words, it fit his prejudice, so
he did bother to check (as he ought to have checked!) whether he might
have misunderstood them instead.