No longer talking about free software?

Ben Finney ben at
Thu Aug 21 00:37:33 UTC 2003

Howdy Bruce,

In February 1999, you made a strong statement that "It's time to talk
about free software again":

    "Most hackers know that Free Software and Open Source are just two
    words for the same thing. Unfortunately, though, Open Source has
    de-emphasized the importance of the freedoms involved in Free
    Software. It's time for us to fix that. We must make it clear to the
    world that those freedoms are still important, and that software
    such as Linux would not be around without them."

This sentiment was enthusiastically accepted by the free software
community, and is surely even more relevant today.  You recognised the
benefit of the FSF Europe's "We Talk About Free Software" campaign:


Yet in recent years I note that you almost exclusively talk about "open
source", not "free software".  Since you talk about it a lot, and your
opinion is (rightly) respected and listened to, this mixed message is of
concern to many in the free software community.


What is the reason for departing from your laudable 1999 announcement?
I've seen no similar announcement that "It's time to switch again to not
talking about freedom".  Do you no longer feel that software freedoms
are worth discussing -- even emphasising?

 \          "One time I went to a drive-in in a cab. The movie cost me |
  `\                           ninety-five dollars."  -- Steven Wright |
_o__)                                                                  |
Ben Finney <ben at>
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