press release critique

Bernhard Reiter bernhard at
Wed May 2 09:15:35 UTC 2001

Hello Stefan,

On Wed, May 02, 2001 at 10:06:13AM +0200, Stefan Meretz wrote:
> I want to explain my critique why I think that -- in my view --
> FSFE differs from FSF, and this is bad.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
We from the core team need all your feedback to make sure that we
are understood in what we are doing. 

> Press release about founding of the FSFE says that free software
> has the goal to make money with it. 

I do not remember the excact sentences you are refering to.
AFAIR there as been no passage about this in the press release.
Georg was quoted in the Berliner Zeitung (a German newspaper)
with something along these lines: "We want to encourage people to
earn as much money with Free Software as they can."

> This is exactly the opposite
> of the spirit of GPL and GNU Manifesto! This is because making
> money presuppose making things scarce. If you have free software
> which is inherently not scarce, you have to make other things
> around free software scarce in order to be able to sell free
> software or the things around. 

There are certain values associated with Free Software.
Responsible business as I (personally) see it is a form of sharing work.
We want to have business which honors our values and our freedom.
As long as business is doing this it is giving people a fair offer 
which customers are free to accept or leave.

To make it short: freedom and business are not directly excluding itself.
And of course it is okay to try to make a profitable business as
long as your are indeed doing it in the responsible way and honoring
our freedom regarding software.

> A fee is ok, but "making money" in Raymond style is against the
> spirit of GNU Manifesto.

The FSF and RMS are indeed encouraging commercial Free Software.
(Some quotes below:

| Please don't use ``commercial'' as a synonym for ``non-free''. That
| confuses two entirely different issues.

| A program is commercial if it is developed as a business activity.

| Free commercial software is a contribution to our community, so we
| should encourage it.

| Actually we encourage people who redistribute free software to charge
| as much as they wish or can.

| So if you are redistributing copies of free software, you might as
| well charge a substantial fee and make some money. Redistributing
| free software is a good and legitimate activity; if you do it, you
| might as well make a profit from it.

| Strictly speaking, ``selling'' means trading goods for money.
| Selling a copy of a free program is legitimate, and we encourage it.

| However, when people think of ``selling software'', they usually
| imagine doing it the way most companies do it: making the software
| proprietary rather than free.
| So unless you're going to draw distinctions carefully, the way this
| article does, we suggest it is better to avoid using the term
| ``selling software'' and choose some other wording instead. For
| example, you could say ``distributing free software for a
| fee''--that is unambiguous.

> Last point is the slogan "equal chances for people and economy" on
> the web site. I can't understand the message. 

This was our first attempt in finding a slogan.
We meanwhile realise that the slogan and the message is not
understood the way it was intented. Therefore we will come up with a
better one. Suggestions are welcome.


Professional Service around Free Software                (  
The FreeGIS Project                                         (
Association for a Free Informational Infrastructure            (
FSF Europe                                            	  (
-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: not available
Type: application/pgp-signature
Size: 248 bytes
Desc: not available
URL: <>

More information about the Discussion mailing list