Re: Debian Free Software (FSF) or Open Source? (was Re; non-cd...)
Kevin Atkinson wrote:
> robert havoc pennington wrote:
> > However, both terms refer to the same thing. Qt, MySQL, and whatever else
> > you want in the main Debian distribution can't even use the term Open
> > Source to describe themselves due to the trademark. Qt uses the term
> > "free" all the time, but they are not according to most people's
> > definition of "free software."
> I never said they were Open Source. But just free. Not trully free but
> free enough.
"Not trully free but free enough." Interesting distiction...
Debian claimed, in the "Debian Social Contract" (DSG), that it would
develop and distribute a "completely free" Linux distribution. The
problem with this contract is that "completely free" is a bit vague.
What did we, as Debian, mean by "free". So Debian wrote the Debian
Free Softare Guidelines (DFSG) to define, for the purposes of the DSG,
exactly what we meant by "free", in a concrete, non-vague way.
So, you admit that Qt is not truely free, that it doesn't meet the
DFSG, yet it is "free enough" that we should include it in the
By -definition-, it isn't "free enough"!
> > Your view seems to be spreading, I'm not sure who's spreading it, but it's
> > certainly not Eric Raymond and other big proponents of the term "open
> > source." RMS should start using the term open source just to be sure this
> > doesn't happen.
> Please define "my view." To make sure we understand each other.
I believe that the View he is discussing is the idea that there is a
split in the Free Software/Open Source movement, based on some
proponents of FS/OS preferring the name "Free Software", and others
preferring the name "Open Source", that the two groups (centered
roughly around RMS in the "FS" camp, and Eric Raymond in the "OS" camp)
have different, divergent, goals, and are at odds with each other.
Why do I think you have this viewpoint? Because you have often held OS
up against Debian (as if Debian wasn't OS), you have repeatedly
contrasted FSF and OS (despite that FSF supports OS, and that the FSF's
GPL is cited as an example of an OS-compliant license), you started the
thread titled "Debian Free Software (FSF) or Open Source" (as if there
were a difference), you claim that rms (as the author of the GPL)
"seams not to believe in the Open Source movement", etc.
As Robert Havoc Pennington points out, the distinction isn't -really-
there. If anything, the view (IMHO) probably comes from the fact that
esr and rms have vastly different reasons for embracing FS/OS, but even
though rms feels that proprietary software is an evil, and esr feels
that proprietary software is a failed/flawed developement model, the
-both- have embraced FS/OS as a cure for the evil/flaws of proprietary
I believe that rms legitimately has a lot of time, energy, and
emotional involvement with the term "free software", as he effectively
coined it and has been promoting it (sometimes almost singlehandedly)
for the past 15 years. I don't begrudge him wanting to retain calling
what he/we do "free software". Neither do I begrudge those behind
"Open Source" for wanting to use a more "suit-friendly" name for the
The DFSG came into existance before "Open Source" hit it big. When the
OSG were developed, it was discussed on debian-devel if we should
rename the DFSG to the DOSG, but it was decided against in part because
a) the DFSG was implicitly part of our social contract, and we, as a
project, should retain control over what our contract is, and b)
because renaming it wouldn't really serve any real purpose.
As far as Debian supporting Open Source, take a look at "Software in
the Public Interest", a non-profit organization formed by Debian for
the purpose of promoting and assisting in free software. In a very
real sense, it exists because people wanted to donate money to Debian,
but didn't have any place to send it. SPI provides a place for people
to donate tax-deductable (in the US, at least) money to support Free
Software projects, including Debian, Gnome, and others. It also
provides a legal entity that can have legal ownership of various marks
related to Free Software projects. It owns the Debian logo (I believe,
someone can correct me), and it also owns the certification mark "Open
> > Anyway. Please, if you want a non-free distribution, go use SUSE, Caldera,
> > Slackware, or any other you like. But don't email hundreds of people that
> > work on free software daily and try to tell them they don't know what free
> > software is.
> All those packages are not what I had in mind.
> I want a system that is free but not completly Open Source...
Then you are working from a different definition of "free" than we are.
Feel free to make your own distribution (even using the Debian
packaging system, if you want!) that matches -your- definition of
> And I in now way trying to tell you they you don't know what free
> software is. I am trying to say that I think that the debian critical
> for what to include on the official CD is to limiting and will not allow
> free software that is not based on truly free software never to become
> an "official" part of Debian.
> Truly I think Debian should be a good noncommercial distribution which
> included stuff that may not be truly Open Source but free enough, not an
> Open Source distribution of linux. However it is clear that not many
> other people want that.
Doing a quick comparison with Red Hat 5.1 (based -solely- on a quick
read of their web page http://www.redhat.com/products/lac.html), I note
* Debian 2.0 is completely Open Source complient, Red Hat is not.
* Debian 2.0 will be shipped on a -minimum- of 3 CD's, with binaries
split across two of them. Red Hat 5.1 is shipped on 2 CD's (binaries,
source) with an additional CD of crippled commercial software.
I think that these two points are -highly- in favor of Open Source as
something Real and Working than RH shows.
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