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Re: [libreplanet-discuss] ethical edtech edit-a-thon

From: overthefalls
Subject: Re: [libreplanet-discuss] ethical edtech edit-a-thon
Date: Fri, 15 Mar 2019 20:25:24 -0600

On 2019-03-13 08:30, Aaron Wolf wrote:
On 2019-03-13 7:05 a.m., wrote:

I follow what you're saying about open/open source and not demonizing
it, but would you mind clarifying the part about open source not really
being different? What is it in near unity with?

The set of licenses that the OSI approves as "Open Source" and that
FSF/GNU approves as "Free software" is near unity. Hence, the set of all
software in the world that is "Open Source" is near unity with the set
of software that is "Free/libre".

The distinctions are almost not worth mentioning. The Watcom license
*requires* the publishing of changes, even changes for only private use
— and the OSI approved it while FSF did not. The FSF has approved a
couple licenses the OSI felt were just not legally clear enough but no
other objections… almost no software in existence uses any of the
disputed licenses.

Now, there's DEFINITELY philosophical distinctions. People often get
confused because of how strongly Richard Stallman pushes against "Open
Source", but if you look carefully, he always says "call it Free/libre,
don't call it Open Source" and similar. He cares what we call it, but he
doesn't want people to think that "it" is a different thing per se.

Besides political/philosophical issues, the practical matter is that
lots of people in the "Open Source" perspective make FLO software
specifically for use in *proprietary* end products while the
"free/libre" perspective opposes the creation of proprietary software.
But they still acknowledge that the "Open Source" *part* of the
proprietary development is unambiguously "free/libre" software.

I guess for me it comes down to the fact that, while yes they are 'near' unity (open source and free/libre), the differences between them are great enough that a pioneer of free software and the pioneer of the copyleft paradigm is adament that the terms should not be conflated. As a proponent of both open source and free/libre (which is also open source admittedly, but with additional benefits). Of course it could be argued that open source has it's 'benefits'. But as Richard Stallman points out,(maybe one could argue it's just his point of view, but it's a pretty defensible point of view, imo) the benefits espoused by OS/OSI are mostly practical advantage and aren't a 'movement of freedom and justice' as he (and many others) view the free/libre movement. I'm new to the discussion/distinction myself so I looked into it a bit after reading the article you linked. Stallman's words on the subject are here if anyone isn't familiar.

His perspective is summed up here I think.

The terms “free software” and “open source” stand for almost the same range of programs. However, they say deeply different things about those programs, based on > different values. The free software movement campaigns for freedom for the users of computing; it is a movement for freedom and justice. By contrast, the open > source idea values mainly practical advantage and does not campaign for principles. This is why we do not agree with open source, and do not use that term.

So, while, they're NEAR unity as you say, the differences are actually great enough that he does not not agree with them. Additionally, from the link you posted, it seems clear that the OSI has held quite different perspectives on open source than it does even now, and of course they could change course in the future. For those reasons, I agree that the distinction should be kept clear for everyone, especially new-comers like myself. I've extolled 'open source' but I will likely (after more research) shift to free/libre and speak more clearly when discussing OS vs Free/libre. I think all of the real enthusiasm in the space (the sustainable enthusiasm) is due to the additional philosophies espoused and championed by the free/libre movement.

Of course, the article you linked also talks about the advantages of the open model and community contributions. Those are also great causes to champion. I think the free/libre movement includes that though, and goes further, so again, the distinction is important.

Of course, the movement isn't about dictators or absolute authorities, so discussion is healthy. These are the things I've learned from the free/libre movement.

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