Subject: Re: Free Software vs. Open Source
From: Richard Stallman <>
Date: Wed, 13 Feb 2002 20:11:46 -0700 (MST)

				    do not seem to believe:

Actually we agree more or less with both of these points.

	    1. The word "free" is detrimental to achieving the goal because
    most people seeing it applied in the context of software think "zero
    cost", not "freedom."

That problem certainly exists.  We use that term because we cannot
find a better way to express in English that we are talking about an
issue of freedom.  The term "open source" doesn't do that at all.

	    2. There may be reasons for supporting Free Software other than
    a moral belief that all software should be free.

We agree with this too.  I cite practical reasons also in my speeches,
for instance.

IN the Free Software movement we cite both practical and moral
reasons.  The Open Source movement, on the other hand, cites only
practical reasons.  It denies that there is a moral imperative for
software to be free or open source.

    believe that adopting the terminology and arguments presented by the OSI
    would accelerate the acceptance of Free Software.

Our goal goes beyond acceptance of free software; we aim for the
rejection of non-free software.

All else being equal, more of the former is better.  But all else is
not equal in this case.  If we limited ourselves to the arguments of
the Open Source movement, we would cease to advocate the latter goal.
There would be nobody left to advocate it.  We cannot do that.

Russell wrote:

    Here's how I propose that Richard deal with us.  First, he should
    acknowledge that the free software movement is inevitably part of the
    open source movement, simply because his goals form a part of our
    goals.  We, too, want to see a world free of the scourge of
    proprietary software.

If the OSI stated that position, if it called proprietary software a
scourge, if it said that there is something *bad* about non-free
software, its position would be a lot closer to ours.  Then closer
cooperation would be possible.