press release critique

Pim van Riezen pi at
Wed May 2 08:24:08 UTC 2001

On Wed, 2 May 2001, Stefan Meretz wrote:

> Hi everybody,
> I want to explain my critique why I think that -- in my view -- FSFE differs from FSF, and
> this is bad.
> The sense of copyleft is to keep and increase the freedom using software. The way to do
> this is to exclude the possibility of making software scarce (freedom is inherited). These
> principles are introduced and explained in GNU Manifesto.
> GPL says that it is allowed to take a fee for distributing free software, however this is
> only a means to balance some expenditure -- not the goal!

Hello Stefan,

Although I think there is some merit in being critical towards ourselves
regarding "GNU purity", I think we also have to keep in mind that the
European landscape may ask for a different kind of politics than the
American soil over which FSF-US reigns. Where in the US it is most of the
times recommended and deal in extremes if you want people to think in your
direction, in my view Europeans tend to prefer the middle road.

Making money off free software shouldn't be FSFE's mission statement. But
I think that in the European context there is no issue of losing a sense
of direction if we mention that Free Software also _does_ make economical
sense in a lot of situations. Acknowledging that doesn't mean that all of
a sudden we are "ESR Pragmatists". For me it means that we believe that
economy is a system built around the exchange of resources and that the
potential of such a system is a function of the amount of freedom
contained within. The economic benefits are a result of freedom, not the


 . <-- Perth

More information about the Discussion mailing list