Logo timeline

Frank Heckenbach frank at g-n-u.de
Thu May 10 08:55:22 UTC 2001

> I think there a misunderstanding from the beginning between people of this
> list.
> Some, like Jos, think that Free Software is, at the end, that Free Software
> should be a hobby.
> Some others think that we can make a living of writing free, should get
> organized to dialog with authorities like government to promote the use of
> Free Software. I just can not see how we can convince authorities like
> government to trust us if we present us as a joyous amateur movement.

I agree.

> If we adopt the first point of view, everything should be free, cooperative,
> fully distributed and we do not really need representatives to convince
> anyone: we are already convinced, have fun, and do not worry about what
> other people can think of our hobby.
> In the second point of view, at the extreme, we can find professional
> software developpers (I am one such strange thing :-) ), who eventually like
> GNU/Linux and would like to use it in their daily work, recommend it to
> their clients, all that if possible contributing to the Free Software
> movement. In this perspective, we need people to represent the free software
> movement, at least so that big organizations can have an interlocutor.
> Along with that, there are points common to both point of view, like the
> interest of having Free Software used by governments in order to avoid
> naughty things like back doors...

And, as I'd like to add, to avoid proprietary data formats. Most of
us have to deal with authorities and companies from time to time.
Communication is becoming more and more digital. So, if governments
and companies use only proprietary software, which often enough also
means proprietary formats, we might have a hard time doing some
everyday tasks a few years from now without using proprietary
software. Therefore I think we should have a real interest in
governments and companies using free software, rather than scaring
them off or even trying to exclude them.

> Both point of views are quite respectable, but we should make clear whether
> FSF Europe aims to represents the first or the second point of view. I
> thought FSF Europe defends the second one (I found strong indices of this by
> the existence of the GBN, for instance). Does everyone agree with that?

IMHO, hobby projects often don't need or want much organization (as
demonstrated by Jos), but I also think FSFE could support some such
projects financially, or by providing (access to) hardware, or
simply by making them better known (which, BTW, is exactly what
Georg is doing in his "Brave Gnu World" column, published on the
Internet and in some magazines).

> Or at least, can the core team precise its position?


Frank Heckenbach, frank at g-n-u.de
PGP and GPG keys: http://fjf.gnu.de/plan

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