Free software and open source philosophies differ sometimes with radically different outcomes

Carsten Agger agger at
Fri Nov 17 13:47:47 UTC 2017

On 11/17/2017 02:39 PM, Carsten Agger wrote:
> On 11/17/2017 01:54 PM, Paul Boddie wrote:
>> Open source is not right wing, and free software is not left wing.
>> Nobody is saying that the software is one thing or the other. But I would 
>> argue that people with a neoliberal perspective are unlikely to talk about 
>> "Free Software": they will instead talk about "open source" because, as others 
>> have said, it focuses on the properties of the product instead of any ethical 
>> motivations for giving the product those properties. And such ethical 
>> motivations do not sit well with exploitative corporate practices that deny 
>> users control over the software.
> I mostly agree with this and with Stallman's position on the words.
> As someone who works for a self-described "open source" company, I'd
> describe "open source" as a development methodology and a business model.
> Some people find it embarassing to have to explain a leftist- or
> libertarian-sounding political agenda in a business meeting.
> But they shouldn't: The political agenda is really why it's so
> important. If it was only a question of getting better software, as
> Stallman argues, we might as well get ourselves a Mac already.
Admittedly, there's a lot of lack of ambiguity or clarity here.

Check out this very beatiful folder from one of our clients, the
municipality of Aarhus (in Danish):

It has a section called "What is Open Source" - and goes on to describe
the four freedoms.

And they use the bicycle analogy - "open source" is a bicycle you're
allowed to fix.

Which is really the values of free software.


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