The measure of success

Rui Miguel Seabra rms at
Wed Nov 7 00:11:05 UTC 2001

On Tue, Nov 06, 2001 at 03:07:21PM -0800, email at wrote:
> The success of open-source can only be measured
> by the number of people using open-source code.

So this means that if only ls was open source, and _everyone_ used ls, then open source would be a sucess.

This is a terrible error, to count only the usage, as a measure of success.

The amount of software respecting the freedoms both fsf and osi wish preserved is a factor at the bare least just as important as the number of people using the software.

> Given a proprietary program that uses open-source code,
> you have more users that can find bugs in code,
> more users that can add features to code,
> more users that can possibly contribute to open-source.

This is called taking advantage of the gullible, and is not one of the principles of open source.
Having open source software (not proprietary software with access to code) is an advantage to the authors _and_ to the contributors.
Proprietary code with access to source is not open source and is only of advantage to the author, that thus receives free work to increase the profit margins. Though good on one behalf, the other is prejudiced.

> So what if a company uses teh code to release a proprietary
> program? if the program never existed before, great, new program.
> if an open source version already existed, nothing will prevent
> the open-source version from adding any new functionality
> that is in the proprietary version.

Except patents, et-all, or that must be just my imagination. Also, it is a lost of valuable time from the life of both the closed source programmers and open source programmers.

> Don't think of proprietary programs as bad.
> Think of them as another distribution channel for 
a closed source version of
> your open-source software.
from which you have gained little to nothing (maybe strings ftp.exe may reveal the true nature, but how many have access to strings... how many will care).

> Don't think of proprietary software companies as bad.
> dont think of proprietary developers as evil,
> think of them as a somewhat short-sighted group of 
> people paid to use and work with your code.

Seldom is a company bad or evil, but frequently they are short-sighted by blindness due to the blinding light of easy profit increase.
Also, do not mix the people who are paid to work with a proprietary "abduction" of the knowledge you shared with proprietary software companies. The later usually employs the former.
> As long as the license prevents proprietary forks
> in your code, there is nothing to worry about.

So worry about BSD, and others osi have approved?
Preventing proprietary forks in your code is one of the advantages of the GNU GPL.
I'm glad we all agree to this.

I cannot understand, then, your animosity towards my posts.

> But restrictions intended to further limit 
> proprietary use of open-source code is 
> short-sighted itself.

proprietary use of open-source code seems to me like a direct violation of principles 1, 2, and 3 of the open source definition.

Hugs, rms

PS: please, stop misquoting me with remarks that seem to intentionally lead others into thinking I've said things which I have not.
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