GNU Business Network Definition comments

Shane M. Coughlan shane at
Mon Jun 19 11:55:04 UTC 2006

Hash: SHA256

Georg C. F. Greve wrote:
>  || On Thu Jun  8 16:20:45 2006
>  || shane at (Shane M. Coughlan) wrote: 
>  smc> This approach ties Free Software into the company mission
>  smc> statement rather than the company development model.
> This seems to hint towards a fundamental misunderstanding that is
> relatively common and was promoted by the "Open Source" attempts at
> marketing Free Software, so is probably worth pointing out:
>          Free Software is *not* a development model!
> This is relatively obvious when taking a look at the Free Software
> Definition, [1,2] which does not mention the development model, at
> all. Whether something is Free Software is purely determined by the
> freedom it gives to its users and developers, not how it is being
> developed by them.

Free Software is a concept fundamentally grounded in ethics.  However, a
company needs to understand how this concept can apply to their
operational model.  Adoption of free software in a company means a shift
away from the mindset that accepted propriety software.  This shift
inherently implies altering the way that company works.  A company will
want to know about Free Software development models (being those models
used by Free Software development projects) so that they can access the
practical value of adoption (be it partially or otherwise).

> But the development model is *not* the issue, freedom is.

Agreed.  However, I was referring to our model or goal as being one of
promoting technological freedom.  This freedom is assumed to have
tangible benefits for both the developers and users of free software.
Freedom is the core issue for society, but for a company their perceived
core issue is bottom line.  We know that freedom *can* give them
benefits, and we know that in time they will see that.

It is important to engage with the businesses in such a way as to
promote Free Software to them, and that frequently means talking about
how they can alter development models and understanding of software to
become compatible with Free Software aims without compromising profit

In other words, freedom is the issue but we have to 'sell' freedom to
companies.  They need to gets facts, figures and practical advice about
how Free Software can help their development and deployment models
today.  Inevitably this translates into questions about systems rather
than ideas.  If we can provide the systems and inject the ideas we have
won on both fronts; practical adoption and a greater awareness by the
adopter of why freedom is important.


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Shane Martin Coughlan
e: shane at
m: +447773180107 (UK) +353862262570 (Ire)
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