DRAFT FAQ: Free vs. Open

Tzeng, Nigel H. Nigel.Tzeng at jhuapl.edu
Fri Jan 11 15:31:23 UTC 2008

Matthew Flaschen [mailto:matthew.flaschen at gatech.edu] wrote

>Tzeng, Nigel H. wrote:
>> Perhaps OSI's neutral stance on proprietary software is born from
>> pragmatism but it does allow the OSI to be inclusive rather than
>> exclusive.

>They are not neutral to proprietary software.  As noted earlier, OSI
>supports open source "better quality, higher reliability, more
>flexibility, lower cost, and an end to predatory vendor lock-in."
>Moreover, it's bylaws (http://opensource.org/bylaws) say (among many
>other things) that they are to "advocate for open source principles".
>OSI takes a very different approach from the FSF, but is clear that they
>are not neutral.

>Matt Flaschen

Your objection is the same as Rick's.  If you don't like the term neutral
perhaps you could provide alternative wording ("non-hostile" is awkward
and still has negative implications) to describe OSI's position.
Again, if OSI's position is that closed source is "unethical" then the FAQ
should reflect that.
As I said in the other email, one can believe that open source is a
superior method but still be positive (or neutral) about the value of closed 
source.  A neutral opinion vs positive or negative is probably more in
line with the official stance, neither praising nor condemning closed source
To quote ESR: "repeatedly exhorted open-source developers that we need 
to be for software quality, not just against something".
This is an inclusive rather than exclusive position.  If this is indeed false it 
should be clearly stated in any FAQ.
I am of the opinion that the philospohical position of the OSI within the FAQ
should be provided by the OSI board to clearly describe the official position.
There are many things that can be determined by consensus but I'm not sure
that is an effective mechanism for this particular item.
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