continuing OS vs FS (was: Information about the Free Software

Alessandro Rubini rubini at
Fri Dec 1 16:49:41 UTC 2000

Hello Alexander

> I still stick to what I said in the mail before: I don't see the
> difference.


> [...]  The basics are the same, and that's better software
> development through peer review.

No (but yes, I've seen your flame shield). And yes, you are too much
into the practical aspect.  As you ask in another mail, I'll explain

The free software movement, the GNU project or the FSF do not aim at
"better software through peer review". They (we) aim at people's
freedom, and better software is just a side effect [1].

On the other hand, the open source movement (no capitals for lazy
typing) aims at better software for everyone through peer review;
people's freedom is a side effect.

It's that easy. Not a big practical difference, only a big theoretical

When Suse (to name one) writes a non-free installer and includes
non-free add-ons in their distribution, it is part of the open-source
movement (and, actually, they give you the source of the installer, so
you can fix bugs for them if you want).

When Debian make a all-free-software distribution relegating non-free
packages to a separate distribution tree, they are supporting free

When Doc Searls writes his editorials for Linux Journal, he's
definitely supporting the open-source movement. And I'd better not
comment on those editorials. Actually, I'd better not comment on Linux
Journal as a whole, I definitely won't write for them any more.

[1] this side effect is not always achieved. Some companies are now
open-sourcing their packages in a vane desire to make them better;
releasing under a free license is not a magic trick to make any
package any better.

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