Information about the Free Software Foundation Europe

Alexander Braun braun at
Fri Dec 1 12:59:32 UTC 2000

On Fri, 1 Dec 2000, John Tapsell wrote:

> Peter Gerwinski wrote:
> > 
> > It is important that everyone is heared and can contribute, but we
> > must be very careful with this.  There are far more promoters of
> > "Open Source" around (or of proprietary software, for that matter)
> > than people who have really understood Free Software.  When it comes
> > to elections - who do you think will get more popularity?
> The trouble is, if we push FSF as being different from Open Source, do we run
> the risk of confusing people?  I see your point about elections, but at this
> point in time, does it make that much difference between OS and FSF?  Don't get
> me wrong, /I/ feel I understand both, and the views of both, but do Joe Public
> need to see the dividing line between OS and FSF?

Well, actually I thought I had seen my share of OS/FS, but apparently not
enough, as I don't see the huge difference. I just went back to check, and
these are my results (just as I had thought):

the following ist taken from:

"Free Software" is:
The freedom to run the program, for any purpose (freedom 0). 
The freedom to study how the program works, and adapt it to your
needs (freedom 1). Access to the source code is a precondition for this. 
The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor (freedom
The freedom to improve the program, and release your improvements to the
public, so that the whole community benefits. (freedom 3). Access to the
source code is a precondition for this. 

the following is taken from (only the headers, the text is mostly pretty
much obvious):

The Open Source Definition
1. Free Redistribution
2. Source Code
3. Derived Works
4. Integrity of The Author's Source Code.
5. No Discrimination Against Persons or Groups.
6. No Discrimination Against Fields of Endeavor.
7. Distribution of License.
8. License Must Not Be Specific to a Product.
9. License Must Not Contaminate Other Software.

Now roughly checking:
freedom 0 is covered by 6 (and 5 perhapts)
freedom 1 is covered by 1 and 2
freedom 2 is covered by 1, 8 and 9
freedom 3 is covered by 1, 2, 3 and 7

Please don't gag me on the details, this is just at a first glance.

I know what _I_ mean when talking about OS/FS, and I don't discriminate
between the two. The above seems to justify this. To me the point is,
everyone can look at it, change it, and it is ensured through licensing
that my and derived work stays that way. 

(That was not easy without using neither "free" or "open" :-))

So, please, I do not know the difference. I do not want to engage in flame
wars, bitter dogmatic fights or anything similar. I _honestly_ don't see
the difference. As someone else asked before, could we please clarify on
this point?

I hope I don't step on somebody's toes because they have _yet again_ to
explain to someone the obvious. If that's the case I apologize, but
otherwise I am eagerly looking forward for your opinions,


Alexander Braun
Laser Laboratorium Göttingen
Hans-Adolf-Krebs-Weg 1
37077 Göttingen

fon  +49 (0) 551 5035 23
fax  +49 (0) 551 5035 99

email  abraun3 at

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