DRAFT FAQ: Free vs. Open - ethicality

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Fri Jan 11 21:48:57 UTC 2008

Quoting Tzeng, Nigel H. (Nigel.Tzeng at jhuapl.edu):

> That paragraph seems FAQ worthy to a potentially contentious question.  
> It may or may not be obvious but the FSF certainly has a position on it 
> and if you are trying to contrast the difference between free and open 
> then that would be it, right? 

No, the mere fact that someone asked a question on a mailing list
most certainly does not make it FAQ-worthy (nor does the fact that
individuals associated with other groups elsewhere choose to talk in
public about that question make it FAQ-worthy).

Why on earth would OSI want to have a FAQ item saying "Our organisation
doesn't go around making public pronouncements on other people's ethics, 
at least not for no better reason than their use of proprietary
software"?  Do you see IEEE publishing a "We're not about making moral
judgements about people's personal ethics" FAQ item?  Have you ever seen
any _other_ standards organisation doing so?

The reason you don't see that is that a group saying in public "We're
not about [dumb idea X]" _makes_ the group become, in part, about dumb
idea X.

OSI does not need, and should not (IMO) seek, a prominent public listing
of the various dumb ideas that it is _not_ about.  It should instead 
talk about what it _is_ about -- which is what, heretofore, it has
consistently done.

More information about the License-discuss mailing list