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Re: It's Time to Talk About Free Software Again

This is a very good comeback, Bruce!

Unfortunately, while the term "Open Source[tm]" may be less ambigous
and more descriptive to the general public (PHBs and such), it has
come to be associated with ESR's publicity stunts[*] and sometimes
tasteless anti-Microsoft agenda - a bit too much.  Trademark or not,
'www.opensource.org' is what defines this term in the mind of most

  [*] Showing up among professional demonstrators from the 60's,
      dressed up in Star Wars costumes, on "Windows Refund Day",
      being his latest cry for attention.  While it may score in
      the Anything-But-Microsoft crowd, people are bound to take
      OSS and consequently Linux less seriously due to induhviduals
      like that.

I disagree with you when you say it is due to Eric that the world
noticed OSS (unless you refer to the term alone). If anything he might
become more and more of a bad spokesman to more-or-less ignorant &
sensation-monging reporters.

Rant, rant.  Back to the issue; the "Free Software" term has been
managed a lot more maturely, even if associated with more of an iron
clad personality.  Plus, as you say, "Free Software" emphasizes the
associated freedom in a stronger, clearer way.  _That_ is quite


>>>>> "Bruce" == Bruce Perens <bruce@k6bp.hams.com> writes:

    Bruce> It's Time to Talk about Free Software Again I'm Bruce
    Bruce> Perens. You may know me as the primary author of the Debian
    Bruce> Free Software Guidelines and the Open Source Definition. I
    Bruce> wrote the Electric Fence malloc() debugger, and some pieces
    Bruce> of Debian. And you may remember me for having brought the
    Bruce> TIGER map database to free software. If you want copies of
    Bruce> that, you can get them through Dale Scheetz
    Bruce> <dwarf@polaris.net>.

    Bruce> About a year ago, I sent out a message announcing "Open
    Bruce> Source". Eric Raymond and I founded the Open Source
    Bruce> Initiative as a way of introducing the non-hacker world to
    Bruce> Free Software. Well, thanks to Eric, the world noticed. And
    Bruce> now it's time for the second stage: Now that the world is
    Bruce> watching, it's time for us to start teaching them about
    Bruce> Free Software. Notice, I said Free Software, _not_ Open
    Bruce> Source.

    Bruce> Most hackers know that Free Software and Open Source are
    Bruce> just two words for the same thing. Unfortunately, though,
    Bruce> Open Source has de-emphasized the importance of the
    Bruce> freedoms involved in Free Software. It's time for us to fix
    Bruce> that. We must make it clear to the world that those
    Bruce> freedoms are still important, and that software such as
    Bruce> Linux would not be around without them.

    Bruce> One of the unfortunate things about Open Source is that it
    Bruce> overshadowed the Free Software Foundation's efforts. This
    Bruce> was never fair - although some disapprove of Richard
    Bruce> Stallman's rhetoric and disagree with his belief that _all_
    Bruce> software should be free, the Open Source Definition is
    Bruce> entirely compatible with the Free Software Foundation's
    Bruce> goals, and a schism between the two groups should never
    Bruce> have been allowed to develop. I objected to that schism,
    Bruce> but was not able to get the two parties together. Another
    Bruce> unfortunate fact is the certification mark dispute which
    Bruce> has gone on between Software in the Public Interest and the
    Bruce> Open Source Initiative for a whole year. That was entirely
    Bruce> my fault.

    Bruce> Sadly, as I've tended toward promotion of Free Software
    Bruce> rather than Open Source, Eric Raymond seems to be losing
    Bruce> his free software focus. The Open Source certification mark
    Bruce> has already been abused in ways I find unconscionable and
    Bruce> that I will not abide. I fear that the Open Source
    Bruce> Initiative is drifting away from the Free Sofware values
    Bruce> with which we originally created it. It's ironic, but I've
    Bruce> found myself again siding with Software in the Public
    Bruce> Interest and the Free Software Foundation, much as I did in
    Bruce> 1995. I feel that the Open Source Definition, which was
    Bruce> copied from the Debian Free Software Guidelines, should
    Bruce> still be our touchstone, and I'll be working to promote
    Bruce> software that fits that definition.

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