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Re: Question on About Page

Raymond <ray.l.rivera@gmail.com> writes:

> I noticed the following statement in the introduction of your about
> page:

>     "In February 1998 a group moved to replace the term "Free Software
>     <http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-sw>" with "Open Source Software
>     <http://opensource.org/docs/definition.html>". They both refer to
>     essentially the same thing."

For those who, like me, had difficulty finding this, it's:


at the top.

> Why is this? After reading from both locations, I think the statement
> that "They both refer to essentially the same thing." is not accurate.
> For example, the GNU definition of free software focuses on the freedom
> of the users, while the definition of the open source movement uses the
> word "free" only in the context of money, but never in the context of
> freedom for the user. The difference may be subtle, but its implications
> are vastly different. It's a difference in the basic underlying
> philosophy.

This whole thing is hugely political and spawns endless repetitious
flamewars.  It's hard to make any statement that doesn't set off another
one, usually accomplishing very little.  But perhaps a less controversial
statement (since I think this part of the about page is trying to avoid
controversy) would be something like:

    In February 1998 a group moved to replace the term "Free Software"
    with "Open Source Software".  This terminology debate reflects
    underlying philosophical differences, but the practical requirements
    placed on software licenses, and the discussion in the rest of this
    page, are essentially the same for both Free Software and Open Source

Russ Allbery (rra@debian.org)               <http://www.eyrie.org/~eagle/>

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