GNU License for Hardware

Derek J. Balling dredd at
Fri Oct 15 21:32:18 UTC 1999

At 03:01 PM 10/15/99 -0600, Richard Stallman wrote:
>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.

Yes. And the FSF's methodology of trying to claim what isn't theirs can 
turn people off to the concept entirely.

>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.

... for you. I agree with the Free Software movement's ideals, but I am 
also a realist in knowing that, through your actions, you turn OFF more 
people to the concept than you turn ON to the concept.

>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.

Maybe we are allowing them the freedom to decide for themselves the reason 
to use Open Source software. If we shove an ideology down their throat, 
they may get disgusted and leave. If they use the software, they will have 
to at some point become aware of what surrounds it, and decide for 
themselves what role they wish to play.

>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.

These days, with you as the lead spokesperson, I don't necessarily see that 
as a bad thing. You have kept the "spirit" alive, and to that we owe you an 
indeterminable amount of thanks, but your methodology yields not growth but 

>   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.

If that software does their job that they need software for better than 
ours does, then they SHOULD leave the community. If our software sucks, 
people won't use it, is that what you're saying, Richard? Well, you're 
right, so instead of turning people off with rhetoric, let's turn them on 
with good software.


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