Free Software / Open source concepts

Michel Roche listes.pichel at
Sat Feb 16 18:27:45 UTC 2008

Le 16 févr. 08 à 18:43, simo a écrit :
>> Open Source movement, if is representative of it, is
>> driven by a way of developping software as it is stated in the first
>> sentence of their website : "Open source is a development method for
>> software (...)"
> Which is *very* debatable, a license definition can't really define a
> development model, at most it may induce, due to some provisions about
> redistribution, a certain collaborative model. But no more than that.
> Unfortunately most people do not understand that a license is a  
> license
> is a license, and nothing else. It's not law, it's not a code of  
> ethics,
> it's not a development model, or a community organization model.

I do agree, but the feeling when reading OSI website is different,  
they're really trying to present Free Software as a business model. I  
personnaly don't like much this approach, but I must admit that :
1- they have the freedom to behave like this, and say what the say
2- 'till they still defend Free Software, it's not that a big deal  
after all. I have my mind, people have another, but if the software is  
still free...
>> Even if in the end these all boil down to the four primary freedoms,
>> the two give us different approaches, and even philosophical point of
>> view, of Free Software.
> The differences are mostly political. I do not think there is much
> philosophy in the Open Source approach (therefore they claim to be
> "practical").

I only tried to be generous to OSI and not looking too negative :-)
But OK, it's a political point of view.

>> So Bogdan, if you want to advocate and spread Free Software around
>> you, I think the best way is yours whatever it is if it fit both you
>> and your audience ! Sounds like a zen stanza :-)
>> The only things that you'll always have to repeat are those four
>> freedoms to educate people understand that the 'free' as in beer can
>> only be possible because of the 'Free' as in speech, which is the  
>> most
>> important notion.
> I don't think that talking about free beer helps at all, on the  
> contrary
> I'd argue that explaining that free software is successful  
> commercially
> (often called open source in this context) and is just a saner
> competitive market can help a lot (depending on the audience of  
> course).

I still agree, but I hardly ever had a conference about Free Software  
where the question didn't came about price. And it's not a matter of  
language : I'm french, so you don't have any doubt between "Libre" and  
"gratuit' ;-)
But this questions arises very quickly because in their mind many  
people do consider that if they use a 'freeware' (as in beer), they  
are as free to do what thay want with as we use a Free Software.
We shouldn't have to talk about that, but we still have to since  
education of the masses hasn't ended up yet on the subject :-))
>> Free Software can be developped by a single one, but they often live
>> better when supported by an active community after.
> Better if it is a community of users, that possibly end up paying for
> development one way or another. Most successful projects sustain
> themselves only because the software was good enough to be adopted by
> "commercial" players that start funding directly or indirectly the  
> core
> developers of the said community (with some notable exceptions).

The community is often funders driven, is that what you want to say ?
You're certainly right, let's not dream too much. But in the end,  
since the software is Free, the funders cannot steal it, and that's a  
real warranty for the end user.
Of course, in the choice of taking a direction or another, the big  
funders may have more importance, which is not exactly democratic.
It's certainly something we'll have to build in the next years : how  
should we drive Free Software developpments ?


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