DRAFT FAQ: Free vs. Open

Lawrence Rosen lrosen at rosenlaw.com
Fri Jan 11 20:46:44 UTC 2008

Nigel Tzeng asked:

Does the OSI believe that closed source software is unethical?


I fail to see what OSI's ethical beliefs (whatever that term might mean)
have to do with a simple question about the difference(s) between "Free" and
"Open Source" software. 


Nor are the ethical beliefs of individual board members of OSI at issue.
Some people accept closed source software and some don't, but to treat that
as an OSI ethical issue-presumably contrasting those here who pray in one
software cathedral versus another-is a debate I don't want to have.


By the way, regarding the basic question, I find it comforting that all of
FSF's *free* licenses are (or soon will be) deemed to be open source, and a
growing number of OSI-approved *open source* licenses are deemed to be
compatible with FSF's new licenses. We've all mellowed somewhat, and we're
all ethical.





From: Tzeng, Nigel H. [mailto:Nigel.Tzeng at jhuapl.edu] 
Sent: Friday, January 11, 2008 11:55 AM
To: lrosen at rosenlaw.com
Cc: License Discuss
Subject: RE: DRAFT FAQ: Free vs. Open


Seems like a simple enough question:


Does the OSI believe that closed source software is unethical?


For me personally that's the largest difference between the positions of the
FSF and OSI.  It would be good to know the answer regardless of why the OSI
chooses to approve permissive licenses.

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