"Free World" Software not Free Software
bernhard at intevation.de
Thu Dec 7 15:43:56 UTC 2000
Just found out that another license has popped up.
(I found it, it might have been around longer.)
As it has some point worth discussion in it, here my take on it:
It claims to be a Free Software License,
but in my eyes it is not free software.
Eric Raymond rejected it as not being open source and as reported in the
It is told that RMS rejected it for a different reason.
But first the facts:
Welcome To The Free World!
The Free World Licence is a free software licence that is
functionally similar to the GNU General Public Licence
(GNU GPL), but allows use only on free operating
systems (platforms) such as GNU/Linux, FreeBSD,
NetBSD, OpenBSD and the GNU HURD (the "Free
Software World"). Software released under The Free
World Licence cannot be used (under the licence) on
proprietary platforms such as Windows NT and Solaris.
Denounced By Richard Stallman!
The Free World Licence has been denounced by Richard
Stallman! Or, at least, he emailed me on 21 October 1999,
stating he would denounce it if it employed a
click/shrink-wrap contract form (which it does). So I think
it's appropriate for me to display this "Denounced by
Richard Stallman" logo (which I specially created for this
It is pretty tasteless in my view to use the humoristic st. ignutius
picture on this serious matter here.
(RMS did the picture this with humor and irony.)
The denouncement has nothing to do with the
free-platform restriction, about which RMS (late 1999)
seems at best enthusiastic and at worst, ambivalent.
Personally I would reject it on base of the free-platform restriction.
Why: Because it does not help in any way to preserve
the freedom of the software, this is what a free software
license should be mainly for. Actually it does not even meet the relaxed
standards of the open source initiative.
Secondly it is not an attempt to foster free software systems.
We need to replace proprietory software were we can to gain more
freedom. The use of e.g. emacs on a proprietory system (e.g. Mac OS X)
truely brings more freedom for users forced on the operating system for
other reasons and still honor freedom. (This includes a lot of hackers
in everyday job with proprietary software companies.) They would be punished.
Actually this attempt would be just an excuse for protecting proprietory
business revenues. The webpage can be understood in this way, too:
The purpose of The Free World Licence is to provide
a means for commercial
software vendors to contribute their software to the free
software community and experiment with free software
business models without threatening the
proprietary-platform sales that survival.
Summary: I cannot recommend anybody to use this license
to protect software to be ment free.
Professional Service around Free Software (intevation.net)
The FreeGIS Project (freegis.org)
Association for a Free Informational Infrastructure (ffii.org)
FSF Europe (www.fsfeurope.org)
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