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The Open Source movement and Free Software movement are not the same

Auke Jilderda wrote:
> although[sic] there is always some discussion about terminology [1], it is
> actually fairly straightforward.  Open Source is about four basic
> freedoms: *Access* to source code and the freedom to *use*, *modify*,
> and *redistribute* it. Anything less does not qualify as Open Source
> and, consequently, you will not find any OSI approved license [2]
> without them.

The Open Source movement was designed to not talk about freedom at all. The
people who put that movement together thought talking about freedom would
scare off their primary audience--businesses--so they decided to talk about
the developmental benefits one gets as a result of the freedoms of Free
Software, not the freedoms themselves.  Talking about freedoms in the
context of Open Source is incongruous with Open Source movement goals.

> An increasing number of companies thoroughly understand the concept of
> Open Source and behave quite well, for instance IBM (investing hundreds
> of man years each year in the development of the Linux kernel) and HP
> (releasing printer drivers in Open Source).

Citing IBM and its development of the Linux kernal in the context of "Open
Source" is odd because the Linux kernal is licensed under the GNU GPL, a
license made by the Free Software Foundation to ensure the freedoms of Free
Software.  This license was written well before the Open Source movement
existed and it centers on the very thing the Open Source movement doesn't
want to talk about. Merely including a license in a list should not garner
the same attention or respect as writing and defending the freedoms that
went into the authorship of that license.

The Open Source movement's choice to dispense with software freedom set them
up to accept licenses written by organizations interested in a one-way
relationship: they copy from and hack on their copies of software without
contributing to the software commons that saved them from having to write
the software from scratch.  Apple's APSL is an example of such a license.
This is the reason so many businesses like the Open Source movement--that
movement tells businesses this behavior is okay and encourages developers to
use licenses that allow more of this behavior.  By contrast, the Free
Software movement critiques this behavior and backs a license that preserves
the commons--the GNU GPL.

>  1. Free Software is geared towards idealism whereas Open Source aims
>     for pragmatism. In my opinion, both are essential to making this the
>     succes it is. (Personally, I tend a bit more towards Open Source so
>     I use that term but you can replace the term with Free Software if
>     you like.)

I don't think it breaks down that way.  I find the implementation of Free
Software ideals to be eminently practical.  But I'm struck by the language
you use in your post: With all your talk about the value of software
freedom, I wonder if you understand the two movements well enough to be sure
you're backing the movement that speaks to your interests. Suggesting one
can merely replace "Open Source" with "Free Software" and still end up with
a sensible statement further suggests you misunderstand the difference
between these two movements.

Try reading http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-software-for-freedom.html
sometime.  It's a good read and it explains the difference between these
movements far better than the Open Source Initiative does in their FAQ.
There are a number of other informative well-written essays at
http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/ which explicate Free Software thinking.

Happy hacking.

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