Subject: Re: Free Software AND Open Source
From: "Federico Lucifredi" <>
Date: Wed, 13 Feb 2002 02:36:07 -0500

Stephen J. Turnbull wrote:
> It's quite simple.  From rms's point of view, the OSI leaders are
> heretics and deliberate sinners.  The fact that they fail to
> understand or refuse to accept the moral imperative does not make it
> OK to disobey it.

And I thought I was the only one to think of Free Software as a religion
with Richard the First as the Pope... =)

> The slavery analogy, however faulty _I_ may find it, is no joke to
> Richard Stallman.  I would surely not "compromise" with slavers.  It
> is not surprising to me that, given his moral axioms, Richard finds it
> extremely difficult to find any ground to give to the open source
> community.

Yet seeing the whole subject as a "moral" issue makes compromise very hard
to achieve. It's like managing to make Hezbollah and Ariel Sharon sit at the
same table and then expecting something (other than a war) to come out of

I also find it hard to accept it as a moral imperative because the FSF seems
to be ready to attach more imperatives to it, such as the "Freedom Zero"
issue between Tim O'Reilly, ESR and RMS. It is simply unacceptable for me to
be told that I have to release under GPL for moral reasons, because I think,
morally, my freedom zero is my right tochoose what to do with a very limited
commodity, the time of my lifespan. If I choose to spend it writing software
and I am not doing it for a living, it is my right to see that it is
released according to MY whishes, possibly under MY definition of Freedom,
not the FSF's.

What kind of Freedom are we talking about, if we are told that we must all
obey FSF-Freedom in order to be moral ? If you don't, you are a "parasite"
like Tim O'Reilly got stamped on his back by RMS.

Morals are an impediment to many rational decisions. I believe it is already
a shame that so many things have to be "moral" because of the way we humans
are. Adding software to the mix is foolish, especially if then we say that
software is "Free" but my use of my own time is (would be) not.

Vulcans, where are you ?

> If you wish to find common ground with the FSF, or at least with
> Richard, you need to accept that.  It still won't be easy, viz, my
> botched attempt over the last couple of days.  Nor do I find it easy
> to keep my temper.  Good practice, though.

Heh. I just did a similar exercise in the real world. The problem is when
"yet another" thing comes up, it feels like people are desperately trying to
reach for my red button today :-)

> Any hey, that windmill will still be there tomorrow....

The world certainly needs visionaries[1] like Richard.... I just wish he
were a little easier to get along with....


[1] (as in people with a vision, not sure if in English this carries a
negative connotation - that's not what I mean)