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[Fsfe-france] Re: FSM

From: Hong Feng
Subject: [Fsfe-france] Re: FSM
Date: Thu, 10 Jan 2002 15:46:22 +0800 (CST)

           The first issue contains an article titled:

   >                      Vim, an open-source text editor

Now in the paper version, the title modified as "Vim: a Popular Text Editor".
I will update the web version too (too busy these days), also the content
is slightly edited too.

           Which is rather unfortunate ... for a Free Software magazine ;-)
           The content of the article also demonstrate a somewhat confused 
           understanding of Free Software.

           Since the first issue is not yet final, is there a way to 
           remedy to this ? 

Here it is the text which will be printed in each issue of FSM:

What Is Free Software?

Free software means users have these freedoms:

- The freedom to run the program, for any purpose.

- The freedom to study the program, and modify it to suit her/his needs.
  In practice, access to the source code is a precondition.

- The freedom to redistribute copies, either for a fee or gratis.

- The freedom to distribute modified versions of the software,
  and thus contribute to the community.

For more information, see http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-sw.html.

What Is Copyleft?

One way of giving users these freedoms is to put the program source
code in the public domain.  However, this allows modified versions to
be non-free; the users can lose their freedom if non-free versions
displace the original free version.

"Copyleft" free software licenses are designed give users the
essential freedoms, but also to require all modified and extended
versions to be equally free.  This actively defends the users' freedom
and eliminates the danger that freedom will be lose in future versions
of the program.  The primary example of a copyleft license for
software is the GNU General Public License (GNU GPL for short).  For
more information about free software licenses, see

The Free Software Movement was launched in 1984 along with the
development of the GNU operating system.  We believe that users are
entitled to these freedoms as a matter of right, and nobody should
be able to take it away from them.

What Is "Open Source"?

In the 1990s, as some free software packages and the GNU/Linux system
became popular, some users and developers chose free software for its
practical advantages but did not agree with the Free Software
Movement's values.  In 1998 they began using the term "open source",
as a way of talking about free software without making people aware of
the Free Software Movement and its views.  The Open Source Movement
cites only practical advantages in being able to modify and
redistribute software; they studiously avoid calling this an ethical
imperative.  They gave their term a definition similar to the
definition of "free software" but not identical.  Most open source
programs are free software, but some are not.

Because the term "open source" is very much associated with the views
and the values of the Open Source Movement, we do not use it.  We
remain, as we have been since 1984, the Free Software Movement.

See http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-software-for-freedom.html for
more explanation about the difference between free software and open

What Is GNU?

GNU is a Unix-compatible operating system that consists entirely of
free software (The name "GNU" stands for "GNU's Not Unix", and is
pronounced "guh-noo").  Development of GNU began in January 1984.  A
Unix-like operating system includes a kernel, libraries, editors,
compilers, mail software, and many other utilities and tools.  The GNU
system is source-compatible with Unix, meaning that program source
code written to run on Unix should also run on GNU.  See
http://www.gnu.org/gnu/ for more information.

What Is Linux?

Linux is a kernel which has been developed by Linus Torvalds since 1991.
The kernel is the component of an operating system that is responsible
for running other programs and keeping them separate, for reading and
writing disk files, for low-level network communication, and some other
tasks.  Linux is free, just as GNU software is, and it provides the same
functionality as the kernel of a proprietary Unix system.

What Is GNU/Linux?

GNU/Linux is the combination of Linux and the GNU system, modified to
work together smoothly.  Many people call this combination "Linux",
but that is a misnomer, since the system is basically GNU and Linux is
the kernel.  The misnomer leads regularly to confusion about the
history and nature of the system.  See
http://www.gnu.org/gnu/linux-and-gnu.html for more explanation.

Today's free software ranges from free operating systems such as
GNU/Linux, to office suites, databases electronic publishing, network
utilities, and scientific research tools.  We believe more and more
free software will be available in the future.  Free Software magazine
covers all kinds of free software that we think is noteworthy for our

Hong Feng
Publisher, Free Software Magazine
address@hidden   address@hidden

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