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Re: Please don't refer to Emacs as "open source"

From: Richard Stallman
Subject: Re: Please don't refer to Emacs as "open source"
Date: Wed, 15 Jun 2011 19:35:48 -0400

    The problem you face, of course, is that "the users" are already free
    to choose to use free software for almost all purposes, but they
    stubbornly refuse to do so.

There is a reason for this: most of our community labels itself "open
source".  If it contributes to free programs, it does so while
ignoring or even opposing the idea that users shouldd to demand
freedom.  So we find that many users who have heard of "open source"
but never heard anyone argue for choosing programs according to their
respect for freedom.

This is why we need to work and push so that the free software
movement does not get hidden behind "open source."  When people want
our cooperation, I insist they recognize the free software movement's
existence.  I do this over and over, and as a result, a substantial
fraction of our users have at least heard of the free software

      Even your bete noir Eric Raymond in private
    espouses the spread of software freedom as such as the main goal
    motivating his behavior 

That is not what he told me.  In any case, his public statements
disparage the idea of software freedom, and that's where the effects
come from.  There are thousands of people in our community that
publicly denigrate the goal of freedom.  All that adds up to the
obstacle we need to surmount in order to teach users to want freedom.

      First, there's a good chance that no *movements* at all were
    going to be mentioned in the report.

"Open source" was going to be mentioned, so we want "free software" to
be mentioned too.

    Third, if the Emacs developers (and other members of the free software
    movement) actually do refuse to participate at your behest, the
    results *will* be biased against the free software point of view,

They will inevitably be biased, because the bias comes in with the
choice of questions.  It was reported here that they are only about
practical matters and totally ignore the ethical level.

If all you know about is a hammer, your survey will only count nails.

    Fourth, it's going to piss off a few Emacs developers, who didn't
    realize that their right to freedom of association was subject to your
    political needs.

I trust that all the GNU Emacs developers understood that speaking as
the head of the GNU Project does not mean I claim any power over any

Dr Richard Stallman
President, Free Software Foundation
51 Franklin St
Boston MA 02110
www.fsf.org, www.gnu.org
Skype: No way! That's nonfree (freedom-denying) software.
  Use free telephony http://directory.fsf.org/category/tel/

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