[OSGeo-Discuss] "Free"

Arnulf Christl arnulf.christl at wheregroup.com
Mon Mar 5 12:24:07 PST 2007

On Mon, March 5, 2007 20:33, Ned Horning wrote:
> On Mar 5, 2007, at 13:49, Allan Doyle wrote:
>> There are Open Source licenses that do not require all of freedoms of
>> Free Software, particularly the requirement to deliver source code if
>> you also deliver modifications. That effectively lets people close
>> off improvements they have made to formerly open software.
> # some text cut out#
>> The FSF "can't" exist under the Open Source umbrella because they
>> feel some Open Source does not guarantee Freedom over time. The Open
>> Source people can't exist under the Free umbrella because they feel
>> the GPL and its variants are too restrictive.
> Okay, this is the part I don't get. What part of the FSF can't be included
> as open source? To me this sounds like a square saying it can't be a
> rectangle since all of its side have the same length.

Cool, still some continue to battle, so lecture is not over yet.

I like the analogy of the square rectangle but the problem is more that
you can't make a cube a rectanlge without squashingit flat. Open Source
without Free is only one side of six that a cube offers. A cube on top of
the square rectangle Open Source foundation (no Open Source, no Free
Software). Squash Free Software flat and you get Open Source. For some
(time) this is enough, but my experience has been that people open up
(what irony) to the third dimension that Free Software really well.
...except certain developers who only see the foundaiton lacking
stereoscopic vision. Hehe, this thread is really getting somewhere now.

> I think of open source as embracing a broad spectrum of licenses including
> all of those supported by the FSF. Should I not be looking at this from a
> licensing perspective?

Yes. My very shortened differentiation (not definition) between FS and OS
is their main focus: Open Source is a development methodology, developers
understand it. Free Softwars adds legal aspects and licensing to the
development process. Lawyers understand it. When you talk about licensing
everything becomes very straight forward with the free-o-meters. Either it
is Free or it is not.

Development methodolody is a complex things and many proprietary vendors
already make use of many aspects of it but do *not* release their software
under an OSI certified license. The danger of confusion in the term "Open
Software" from this perspective is a lot higher then in (the correctly
understood*) term Free Software.

*) The problem is that common people have a connotation of free as in
gratis. Question is: do we adjust to common people and say Open Source
when we mean Free Software or do we educate people about the implications
of FLOSS beyond dental hygiene. This is to be taken with some humor. I
guess OSGeo is an organization that is about educating people. Ideally
with that humor.

My personal interest is that of a business woman whose profit lies in
people understanding the Free Software concepts. Umpf. So many words. :-)

Arnulf Christl

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