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

From: David Kastrup
Subject: Re: Please don't refer to Emacs as "open source"
Date: Fri, 17 Jun 2011 17:29:43 +0200
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/24.0.50 (gnu/linux)

"Stephen J. Turnbull" <address@hidden> writes:

> David Kastrup writes:
>  > Why win their hearts with false pretense?  One won't be able to keep
>  > them that way.
> You're the one talking about false pretenses.  "Presentation" does not
> mean lying or hiding one's true intent.  It means talking about your
> ideas in terms that others understand.

Creating free software sucks as a business model because access to it is
by its nature not constrainable.  Any non-trivial companies working in
that area are working as

a) creating software on demand where the customer does not care about
the license.  This is not "free software", but rather "I don't care
about the license" software business.
b) creating distributions of free software and selling copies.  Business
in that area is heading South in the age of the internet and DVD
burners.  And the competition are mass copying services that are license
c) trying to make a service model around free software.  Again, this is
not license specific, except that small-fry businessmen have a chance,
when highly skilled, to actually look at source code and do
before-the-time patches.  Big-fry businesses get access to source code

About the only company holding its own after going public is RedHat, and
their servicing and distribution terms for the commercial offerings are
way out of the free software philosophy.  And they were free software
from the start.

Every major company/project that _became_ free software or centered
around its business went down.  StarOffice went into Sun, became
OpenOffice (and Sun tried to make SunOS Open Source as well) and went
down with Sun.  SuSE was taken on by Novell, and Novell went down.
Symbian became Open Source, and went down within a year, while Qt
apparently remains Open Source even though its developers were acquired
by Nokia.  But Nokia switches to Windows and sold off Qt licensing

And so on.  While the companies crash and burn, they leave behind free
software, but without a developer base and ongoing commitment.  Beyond a
certain complexity, having the source code in your hand without the
brains behind it does not help.

FLOSS software rates awful under the metrics that the Open Source
movement is interested in.  Those are not the metrics that the free
software movement was interested in, or it would not have started in the
first place.

> In the case of my circle, you *can* talk about free software and have
> them understand that this connotes a movement.  You *can* use the
> usual terms of discourse used in the free software movement and they
> will understand them.
> They just don't yet agree with the program.  They may never consider
> it ideal, but come to support it with minor philosophical
> reservations.  And yes, by "program" I do mean "elimination of
> artificial property rights of all kinds in software".

Nobody including myself agrees with Richard except, sadly, reality.

David Kastrup

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