Subject: free software vs. open source
From: Norm Jacobowitz <>
Date: Tue, 23 Nov 1999 10:10:27 -0800 (PST)



"Free Software" is about exactly that: it's the _software_ that is
protected and guaranteed freedom; the GPL is the consummate guarantor of
freedom for the source code itself.

"open source" (note lower case, entailing generic interpretation) is about
freedom for _people_ who use the software.

The GPL is good for the freedom of software, but not for the freedom of
people.  And that's just fine with me, because at this early stage in
history of software development, it's still the _software_ that matters

Where M$ and others have screwed us is that they've _prematurely_
consumerised an immature, incomplete set of technologies, stunting the
development of PC software by harvesting it too soon.  Look at us now,
taling about the 'post PC' environment, when we never even got the PC

Red Hat is doing the same, to the detriment of our community.  They are
picking and selling the fruit of the GPL before it's ripened.

<lurk back on just because I don't have time to participate in the
excellent and important discussions on this list>


(comments, criticisms and even flames actively solicited)

Norman M. Jacobowitz