GNU License for Hardware

Ben_Tilly at Ben_Tilly at
Thu Oct 14 22:38:33 UTC 1999

(List of recipients trimmed.)

Richard Stallman wrote:
>     RMS has said that he considers OSI and FSF to be like "two political parties
>     within our community". Perhaps he has something like the Clinton Republicans
>     and the Dole Democrats in mind, but it plays more like the two sides of a
>     Lite Beer commercial: More Freedom! Fewer Bugs! Both are true, and both are
>     important.
> I think both are important, and that is what I say when I speak.
> My disagreement with the Open Source movement is that they
> avoid talking about one of these two, and some of their leaders
> have made statements rejecting it.
Agreed.  The Open Source movement was started by people who by
and large like contributing to a similar reality to what the Free Software
movement is aiming for.  But they differ on methodology, and the Open
Source movement can appeal to people that the Free Software
movement does not.

> If you think that both are important, your place is in the
> Free Software movement.

No.  If you think that both are important AND that the methodology
put forward by the Open Source movement is not currently the right
strategy, then you belong in the Free Software movement.  Personally
I think that until even naive computer users see "OSS" as being the key
dynamo that runs computers, the most effective strategy for most is to
identify themselves as members of the Open Source movement and
*just incidentally* recommend the GPL as a standard safe licence to
use.  Get people hooked, spread the GPL, or at least open software,
and let free software win in stages.

So it is possible to be for the goals of the Free Software movement yet
have beliefs making openly declaring oneself a member of the OSS
camp a better short-term decision.  (Until the OSS conversion method
is no longer winning easy converts.)  The free software sale is much
easier for someone who has already experienced it, and OSS is an
effective method for having people who would not otherwise get that
experience to experience it.


More information about the License-discuss mailing list