GNU License for Hardware

Richard Stallman rms at
Fri Oct 15 21:01:35 UTC 1999

      But they differ on methodology, and the Open
    Source movement can appeal to people that the Free Software
    movement does not.

That is true.  At the same time, the Free Software movement
can instill a stronger, firmer, more persistent kind of support,
because we appeal to the kind of values which can generate such

Thus, each approach can do something that the other cannot do.

    > 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.

Your point is that it is a person who agrees with the Free Software
movement might under some circumstances decide to use the Open Source
movement's method.  I can imagine situations where that might make
sense.  But the present situation is not one of them.

At present there are plenty of people and companies using the Open
Source approach, and just a few using the Free Software approach.
The plan to invite business to give the fair-weather support that
we can expect from business is working fine, but we are not doing
a comparable amount to spread the love of freedom.

Millions of new users are flocking to free operating systems, but we
are not telling them about the issues of freedom as fast as they are
coming into the community.  We are getting them "hooked" with the
practical advantages, then failing to follow up.

So if you agree that freedom is an important benefit in its own right,
right now you should let all those other people win the easy converts,
and help me tell them about the benefits of freedom.

If we don't have enough people to help with this, the danger is that
the Free Software movement will be forgotten, drowned under the flood
of Open Source publicity.  Then by the time all the easy converts have
been won, there will be no effort to suggest to them that there is any
more at stake than the convenience and reliability of the free
software they happen to be using.  And the next time someone offers
them a proprietary system which is more convenient and reliable, they
might leave our community as easily as they came in.

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