Information about the Free Software Foundation Europe

Bernhard Reiter bernhard at
Fri Dec 1 17:11:10 UTC 2000

On Fri, Dec 01, 2000 at 01:59:32PM +0100, Alexander Braun wrote:
> On Fri, 1 Dec 2000, John Tapsell wrote:
> > Peter Gerwinski wrote:

> > > There are far more promoters of "Open Source" around (or of
> > > proprietary software, for that matter) than people who have really
> > > understood Free Software.  

> > The trouble is, if we push FSF as being different from Open Source,
> > do we run the risk of confusing people?  

> > do Joe Public need to see the dividing line between OS and FSF?

> 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?

Okay, here an attempt to shed some light on the issue
of how open source and free software differ:
(Probably not perfect.)

The first reading stop for you probably is:

As for the licenses, there are small but sometimes significant
differences. Mostly in how licenses can create practical problems when
their code is long term used within the free software community.

Another fundamental difference certainly is the level of the goals.
The free software movement is not just about software technology alone
it actually carries some political or ethical ideas 
(like the freedom to learn techniques important for modern society).
The "open source" movement has no such aims or at least does not talk
about them and has already created more missunderstandings with their
wording as the Free Software movement.


Professional Service around Free Software                (  
The FreeGIS Project				            (
Association for a Free Informational Infrastructure            (
FSF Europe					      (
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