Comment on "Nine Attitude Problems in Free and Open Source Software"

Matthias Kirschner mk at
Wed Oct 22 08:03:49 UTC 2008

Hi all,

I just read "Nine Attitude Problems in Free and Open Source Software" 

I don't have much time at the moment, but I want to know your opinion. 

I also inserted my first thoughts about things I am sceptical:

    1) Not knowing allies from enemies


    Even worse is the division between free software and open source
    advocates. Admittedly, the philosophies are different: free software
    is about user freedom, while open source is about quality software.
    Yet, despite these ultimate differences, members of the two camps
    work on the same projects with the same licenses, and are seen by
    both themselves and outsiders as having far more in common than not.

    So why dwell on the differences? The obvious truth is that free
    software and open source advocates will never find anyone with whom
    they have more in common than each other.

I doubt that. I often have the impression I have more in common with
people engaged in political and social issues than people who "just want
to write good code". And I also have the impression that it is easier to
e.g. explain Free Software to political science students than to
students of computer science.

Especially as he wrotes under 2):

    In the same way, instead of talking about software or its licenses,
    the FOSS community needs to talk more about issues such as
    consumers' rights and privacy and free speech -- matters that extend
    far beyond the keyboard and terminal.


And one main point: What do you think about section 7?

    7) Taking commercial development as a model for growth

I think it is not good to differ between a commercial and "open source"
development model. Yes, there are different development models, but I
think that is not inevitably connected with the fact that it is non-free
or Free Software. 

How would you categorise?

Best wishes,

Deputy  German Coordinator, Fellowship Coordinator
Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) []         (
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