DRAFT FAQ: Free vs. Open

David Dillard david_dillard at symantec.com
Fri Jan 11 19:20:26 UTC 2008

> Indeed.  However, using the GPL and other FSF licenses is not 
> a principle of the FSF; it is a pragmatic means to an end, 
> the end being the freedom of software users.

Pragmatism and principles are often at odds with one another, but we
aren't here to debate about the FSF.

So, getting back to Nigel's post and my response: Presumably, one
principle of the OSI is to act ethically.  Is it ethical to promote
something that you believe is unethical?  I don't believe that it is.
Thus, *if* the OSI believes that open source is ethical and closed
source is unethical then it should not approve licenses which allow open
source to be used in closed source applications.  Admittedly, one can
dispute that the OSI is promoting closed source by doing this, however
since it would be easy enough to not approve such licenses I believe
that it does constitute a form of promotion.

Conversely, I think it would be reasonable to say to Nigel that since
the OSI does approve licenses that allow open source to be used in
closed source applications, that demonstrates that the OSI does not
believe that closed source is unethical.

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