DRAFT FAQ: Free vs. Open

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Thu Jan 10 04:30:33 UTC 2008

Quoting John Cowan (cowan at ccil.org):

> It's rather embarrassing, in a piece that's about contrasting FS and OS,
> to mention the D*F*SG, since they are the direct ancestors of the *O*SD.

How so?

It's possible I am not grasping your point.  I would think OSI would be 
honoured by the association (DFSG being, IMO at least, a quite worthy
standard on its own merits), and that acknowledging the derivation and
close resemblance would be highly uncontroversial and, well, a natural
and practical thing to do.

I, for one, tend to refer people to DFSG as a primary criterion for
determining whether something is free software or not.  Yes, the Four
Freedoms essay is older, but DFSG is, as mentioned, many rungs down 
S. I. Hayakawa's famous abstraction ladder, making it more useful, in my

Separately:  At the risk of raining on Ernie's parade, I'd like to ask 
what he's really doing here.  If he's (in effect) averaging out all views
expressed on this public mailing list in order to arrive at his FAQ entries, 
I have my doubts about whether his results will fairly represent OSI.

I salute him for trying, but this particular question, in particular,
really is very much the proverbial can of worms.

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