[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: An open letter to the open source community about the security of open source pr

   I think that you have missed the point. I don't believe that the
   intention of the discussion was to size-off the merits of Open Source
   and Free Software. 

I doubt that RMS is considering intentions, but is looking at facts.

In current use, the term `open source' conflates at least two
different actions.  One action is the release of code under the GNU
General Public License.  Another action, which I myself have seen
referred to as `open source', is the permission Microsoft gave to
officials from the government of mainland China to study, but not
copy, change, or redistribute, its Microsoft Windows source code.

In a different case, about which I have also read, some developers
worked on a Java project that Sun said, ahead of time, was open source
but not free -- and the developers were suprised when Sun turned out
to mean exactly what it had said: the developers were giving their
work gratis to Sun for the corporation to restrict.

You may think the intent of the phrase `open source' is only to refer
to software that you and others may run, copy, study, change, and
redistribute.  Unfortunately, other people do not always intend that.

A similar problem occurs when people (using the English language)
understand `free software' to be `free' in the sense of gratis, rather
than free in the sense of `free speech', `free markets', or `the free
world'.  However, enough people are sensitive to this problem that you
often seen people referring to `free as in free speech, not free
beer'.  The goal is to avoid confusion.

   Rather, my reading of the message was that it proposed
   that different projects work together to offer greater protection
   against security threats. 

That is your reading.  It certainly is not the reading of others who
also use the phrase `open source'.

Had the author wanted to use the phrase `open source' in a manner that
avoided confusion, he could have used the phrase `free, libre, and
open source' software (FLOSS), since that phrase has come to refer
only to open source that is free, not to open source that is
restricted.  Like the appropriate response to two meanings of `free'
in English, this action avoids the confusion that can otherwise occur.

    Robert J. Chassell                         Rattlesnake Enterprises
    http://www.rattlesnake.com                  GnuPG Key ID: 004B4AC8
    http://www.teak.cc                             bob@rattlesnake.com

Reply to: