OSI enforcement?

Raj Mathur raju at linux-delhi.org
Wed Jan 9 03:59:31 UTC 2008

On Wednesday 09 Jan 2008, Donovan Hawkins wrote:
> [snip]
> FSF has a vision for how free software should be developed. At
> various points, the pursuit of that vision has led to splits in the
> community...this isn't either side's fault but is simply the natural
> result of having differing viewpoints. The permissive group split off
> when GPL was released. Torvalds appears to have hopped off the bus
> when GPL v3 was released and that may or may not result in a new
> faction.

IMO the FSF's vision deals more with how software should BE rather than 
how it is developed.  How software is developed is part of the Open 
Source vision, and this difference (between holding the development 
process and viewing the end user rights of software as primary) appears 
to be the primary point of contention between the advocates of Free 
Software and Open Source.

The focus of the free software movement has always been the rights of 
end users on software, while the open source movement grew out of ESR's 
characterisation (in The Cathedral and the Bazaar) of the free/open 
development paradigm.  To that extent, it would be true to say that the 
FS movement concentrates on the users of software, while the primary 
focus of the OS movement was developers of software.  Since the 
original paper, of course, things have changed dramatically, and the OS 
movement is also as concerned with end users as the FS movement is.

Finally the only difference we're left with is how the two movements 
perceive the benefits of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS).  The OS 
movement believes that the FOSS is better, cheaper, more secure and 
more relevant.  The FS movement believes that all software should be 
FOSS, since non-free, proprietary software denies users the four 
freedoms (freedom to run, study and adapt, redistribute and improve the 
software) and reduces the total amount of wealth in the world (software 

> Unfortunately I don't see how you can solve this problem since each
> side has a very reasonable and very defendable position. The best we
> can hope for is to get everyone to "agree to disagree" and focus on
> areas with less contention. The free/open-source definition could be
> one of those areas.
> ---------------------------------------------------------------------
>------ Donovan Hawkins, PhD                 "The study of physics will
> always be Software Engineer                     safer than biology,
> for while the hawkins at cephira.com                   hazards of
> physics drop off as 1/r^2, http://www.cephira.com               
> biological ones grow exponentially."
> ---------------------------------------------------------------------

Raj Mathur                raju at kandalaya.org      http://kandalaya.org/
 Freedom in Technology & Software || February 2008 || http://freed.in/
       GPG: 78D4 FC67 367F 40E2 0DD5  0FEF C968 D0EF CC68 D17F
PsyTrance & Chill: http://schizoid.in/   ||   It is the mind that moves

More information about the License-discuss mailing list