Linux Today: Linux News On Internet Time.

Linux.com: Fight the GNU/Future

Aug 26, 2001, 12:05 (68 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by John Stanforth)
"...The same people in the Open Source community who make excuses for FSF extremism seem to be missing the simple truth here-- RMS isn't an extreme view in the Open Source movement, but the standard view of a completely different movement altogether. RMS isn't fighting for software developers-- he's fighting for the software itself, and at least from his perspective, for the users who would get complete rights to use and modify any software that exists. Of course, since you can't force companies or people to write software under those terms, it seems inevitable that the FSF policy would actually limit user choice by eliminating commercial software, and by eliminating competition. Still, no one can fault RMS for any confusion-- he has been completely clear (excessively redundant, in fact) about the fact that the Open Source movement is not the same beast as the Free Software movement. I recall a Crystal Space discussion where, in virtually every response to the CS author, RMS reiterates that he doesn't speak for the Open Source movement and that his advice from a Free Software perspective will be very different from that of someone in the Open Source movement. You just can't get any more specific about the topic than that, folks.

Yet, in our haste to find allies in the very real struggle against the ever-more-powerful (and ever-encroaching) Corporate Powers That Be, we in the Open Source movement have taken strange bedfellows with those in the Free Software movement, and we've done so in a way that at times has been rather confusing for the community at large. Sure, the two groups share common software and share powerful common corporate enemies-- those monopolistic corporations that seek to squelch the rights of people everywhere to develop and to use non- commercial software alternatives. The FSF needs Open Source as an ally to defend the GPL against marketing attacks by Microsoft and its puppets, and Open Source clearly needs the long-established GNU software base to continue the spectacular progress that its relatively new projects have enjoyed. But at the end of the day, the harsh reality is that these two clans are working with very different and conflicting objectives, and in time, as these groups mature and gain strength, these differences only become more pronounced."

Complete Story

Related Stories: