Richard Stallman's new article: Overcoming Social Inertia

Ciaran O'Riordan ciaran at
Thu Nov 8 12:53:05 UTC 2007

Below is why I don't think that "open source" can be a useful first step
to help people understand software freedom, but even if you still disagree,
I think there are enough people working on Step 1, and very very few people
working on Step 2, so if you want to help the two step process, please work
on Step 2.

Steven <steffo at> writes:
> Open Source is based on certain aspects of some of the four
> freedoms.

The term "Open source" was coined so that people could hide the issues of
liberty when talking about the software.  It refers to almost exactly the
same set of software, but it brands the issue as being a technical or
implementation detail rather than being about valuable freedoms.

Said another way, the purpose of "open source" is to keep people
non-philosophical about software...

> Maybe Open Source Software could be the first step for the
> 'non-philosophical' majority of humanity to accept and grow into the
> rather revolutionary ideas of Free Software.

The software can certainly be a first step for people to value society's
ability to participate in the development of the software they use.  Calling
the software "open source" makes it less likely that this will happen.
Calling it "free software" makes it more likely.

CiarĂ¡n O'Riordan __________________ \ Support Free Software and GNU/Linux _________ \     Join FSFE's Fellowship: \

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