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

Jonas Oberg jonas at
Sat Nov 18 06:13:12 UTC 2017

Hi everyone,

As has already been said, people sometimes talk about "open source" when
they refer to the four freedoms, or vice versa. I do not think it's
helpful for anyone to try to divide people by the terminology they use.

I can not stress this enough, because it strikes a nerve. I am what you
might call a neoliberal -- or at least a liberal of some sort. I have
no patience for socialism and I've never voted for the right.

And yet -- I am here. I co-founded the FSFE. Before that, I was an FSF and
GNU project volunteer. I *keep* working for the FSFE and I feel passionate
about the philosophy of Free Software. So I really wish people would stop
trying to label me based on my choice of wording.

It just does not work. We must look beyond the words people use and 
encourage people to think about the philosophy of our movement,
as the ethical foundations on which the development model depends,
and vice versa. And we must do that regardless of what terminology
people use.

But if people insist that there's a political and philosophical difference
between Free Software and Open Source, then juding by my political
beliefs, I must be using the wrong terminology. And have been for the last
20 years. So I guess it's time for me to start talking about Open Source

Jonas Öberg
Executive Director

FSFE e.V. - keeping the power of technology in your hands. Your
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