OSI compliance requiring software to be "free beer"?

Lou Grinzo lgrinzo at stny.rr.com
Thu Jan 18 17:03:02 UTC 2001

This is, based on my conversations with people in the industry, the biggest
single problem many companies have with open source.  It's not an issue of
them not wanting others to see their code or steal their IPL, etc., it's
that libre has the gratis side effect, and that they don't want to compete
in the marketplace with an identical, free version of their own software,
which they often spend a lot of money to develop.  Their only alternative is
to move into selling support and services, which is a very different
business model and organization than selling shrink-wrapped software.

And no, I don't have a solution to this situation, either, or I'd be an
absurdly rich man, as Russell suggested. <g>

Take care,
Lou Grinzo
Editor, LinuxProgramming.com

-----Original Message-----
From: Russell Nelson [mailto:nelson at crynwr.com]
Sent: Thursday, January 18, 2001 11:30 AM
To: Manfred Schmid
Cc: osi at opensource.org; license-discuss at opensource.org
Subject: Re: OSI compliance requiring software to be "free beer"?

Manfred Schmid writes:
 > I hereby request an official Board statement: Does OSI approval of
 > licenses require the software to be free in the sense of "free beer"?

[ I prefer to use the terms "gratis" and "libre".  In English, "free"
means both those things at the same time, and in our context is often
VERY confusing. ]

No.  I (just one of the board members of OSI) don't care if software
is gratis.  Open Source (or "Free", aka rms-Free) software must be
libre.  That it ends up being gratis is just a side-effect; sometimes
a good one, sometimes a bad one.  If you can figure out how to make
libre software not also be gratis, you'll become a rich man.

-russ nelson <sig at russnelson.com>  http://russnelson.com | Government is the
Crynwr sells support for free software  | PGPok | fictitious entity by which
521 Pleasant Valley Rd. | +1 315 268 1925 voice | everyone seeks to live at
Potsdam, NY 13676-3213  | +1 315 268 9201 FAX   | everyone else's expense.

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