[GRASS5] Terminology: Free Software

Bernhard Reiter bernhard at intevation.de
Wed Oct 10 06:00:51 EDT 2001

On Tue, Oct 09, 2001 at 05:36:39PM -0400, Robert Lagacé wrote:

> So, I suggest a modification 
> to the Bernhard description (or someting simuilar).
>         GRASS is Free Software based on open source, giving you 
>         the freedom to unlimited use, modifcation and distribution 
>         of the source and binary.

It includes the assumption that Free Software licenses and open source
licenses are different. This is not true and therefore is missleading.

Jan also pointed out to me that "unlimited use" from my
description might be too unspecific.

On Wed, Oct 10, 2001 at 10:58:01AM +0200, Markus Neteler wrote:

> Just a small point here: We are mainly addressing people who
> *don't* know GRASS, right? Those knowing and using GRASS we don't
> have to explain the idea of free software, they are already using
> it. The definition is for those who are new to this system
> (and who may not want to read all the discussions of the last years).

We also have to explain the freedom they have with GRASS to other
GRASS-users. Because of the history of GRASS being Free Software
as public domain and then later having diverted into several
branches of software which a lot is non-free in a subtle way,
a lot of GRASS users do not understand that GRASS now has the
maximum of software freedom.

> The "definition" from Robert sounds quite good to me:

Explained a problem with it above.

> The funny thing is that only
> http://www.opensource.org
> exists. And they talk about
> "Open Source Initiative (OSI) is a non-profit corporation dedicated to
>  managing and promoting the Open Source Definition for the good of the
>  community, specifically through the OSI Certified Open Source Software
>  certification mark and program."
> not about "Free Software", the term "free" doesn't appear here.

Check the history and the FAQ.
More and more people (insiders, but important developers) get the feeling
that the opensource marketing program got a live on its own. :(
That's why people like Bruce Perens left.
He said in a recent LinuxMagazin(? US based)-interview that 
he feels it goes in the wrong direction.

> BTW:
> http://www.freesoftware.org
> http://www.free-software.org

[Bad examples of the use of free with software]

> Anyway, I feel that the term "free" is biased as Helena and others pointed
> out. So above text from Robert may satisfy everybody (I am sure we don't
> completely solve the problem here...).

So is open source.
I don't want to bring up all the abuse-cases.


Professional Service around Free Software                (intevation.net)  
The FreeGIS Project                                         (freegis.org)
Association for a Free Informational Infrastructure            (ffii.org)
FSF Europe                                            	  (fsfeurope.org)
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