david at usermode.org
Tue Sep 11 06:46:53 UTC 2001
On Monday 10 September 2001 10:31 pm, JEETUN6 at aol.com wrote:
> Many thanks for seeing what I was trying to say. When I heards of this open
> source movement I was intrigued to see how they could do what they do
> without intellectual property protection, a institution that they attack so
> much. How much of a surprise then was it to discover that they actually
> used copyright towhat they want to do. It was merely the use of copyright
> in a different way. From my uniniated perspective, it appears to be that
> your complaint is against the use by others of copyright rather than
> copyright itself, but that this distinction has been ignored and has turned
> into a witchhunt against copyright.
The "community" of Open Source developers are not all of one mind. Far from
it. There are dozens of different philosophies and viewpoints on the
licensing and distribution of software here.
The common perception is that the term "Open Source" succeeded in the public
where "Free Software" did not, because of the word "free". Going out on a
fragile limb here, I will assert that that is NOT true. The reason "Free
Software" was not a widely accepted concept was that the Free Software
Foundation website presents one single philosophy, liberally strewn with the
pronoun "we". For a newcomer, it seems that Free Software is only for those
that think one certain way.
Furthermore, the philosophy of the FSF is defined in self-referential terms.
In other words, it doesn't make sense to outsiders. For example, there is one
article entitled "Why Software Should Not Have Owners", which is considered
one of the core arguments in favor of Free software, but it is combined with
dozens of other articles urging folks to license/copyright their works in
Open Source takes a philosophy-neutral stance. We don't care who you voted
for in the last election, what church you go to, what community organizations
you belong to, or even if you think Richard Stallman is wise or nuts. Open
Source is not about approving people, it's about approving software. And
that's why it succeeded in capturing the public's eye.
To be balanced and fair, there are many on the Free Software side who believe
that "Open Source" is a sellout of principles, that it is better to have few
people standing up for freedom than a lot of people standing up for
There are a multitude of viewpoints here. My viewpoint is different from many
others. I write Open Source software simply because I want to share my works
with other people. Unrestrictive licenses allow my code to be used by anyone
and for any purpose. Since this is the code that I write in my spare time,
and as a hobby, it doesn't matter that I am not earning any revenue off of
it, or that someone could fork off a more successful version of it and siphon
away my userbase. I don't share because I am supposed, I share because I want
Yes, there are those here that are on a "witchhunt" to destroy copyright. But
they are not the only ones here.
I would recommend at the book "Open Sources", by O'Reilley. It consists of
many articles about Open Source and particular Open Source projects, each
article by someone different, and each with a different philosophy. It has
articles by those wanting to save the world from copyright, others by those
actually running profitable businesses based on Open Source software, and
those who are just having fun. You can read it online at
> how can I ensure that I get e-mailed further discussions on this list?
Simply join the list. See www.opensource.org for more info.
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