The Invisible Hand

Matthew C. Weigel weigel+ at
Sat Sep 29 23:39:02 UTC 2001

On Fri, 28 Sep 2001, David Johnson wrote:

> back about people having their heads in the clouds. The pundits on
> both sides have stipulated a choice between morality and pragmatism.

I can only disagree with this.  RMS has never said that free software
was unpragmatic, or that a pragmatic person would necessarily choose
non-free software.  The argument is that, pragmatic *or not*, free
software is the answer on social grounds.

The argument of the OSI is that free software is the answer on
technical merits.

The disagreement lies in the differences between FSF-free software and
OSI-open source; surely, if they were the same, RMS would not argue
that the free software and open source communities are different (he
would still argue, I'm sure, that the OSI trivializes what he considers
the most important aspects).

Certainly, there are OSD-compliant licenses which are not free software
licenses according to the FSF - accordingly, claiming that pragmatic
open source is every bit as free, and social free software is every bit
as pragmatic, can not be supported.
 Matthew Weigel
 Research Systems Programmer
 mcweigel at ne weigel at

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