GNU License for Hardware

Richard Stallman rms at
Sun Oct 17 21:43:27 UTC 1999

      The goal
    of the OSS movement is to convince people and companies that by
    definition a proprietary system cannot long-term deliver the same
    real benefits that OSS can.  If someone is well and truly convinced
    of that, then they cannot be sold a proprietary system, no matter what
    the claim or the current reality, because they will not believe that any
    present difference is anything other than transitory.

You're assuming that they will put long-term considerations ahead of
short-term ones.  People who are judging based on practical values
alone rarely do that.  They will tend to let the immediate practical
advantages of using proprietary software packages outweigh their
long-term interests.

Also, you are speaking of a very firm and total kind of convincing,
which is rare in the OSS movement.  In my experience, people who
firmly reject non-free software do so at least partly based on the
moral disapproval which is the basis of the Free Software movement.

Do you know of anyone who has been convinced so thoroughly by the OSS
movement that he now rejects non-free software, purely for the sake of
the long-term practical benefits?  Bob Young is not one.  Red Hat
develops non-free software only with considerable reluctance, but it
distributes plenty of non-free software.

    So I believe that there is a real OSS argument with some difficult
    converts left to make.

Earlier you were talking about making the easy converts.  And the
advantage you claimed for the Open Source approach was precisely that
it could convert some people easily.  (I agree that this is useful,
but there are lots of other people doing it already.)

But if you are talking about difficult converts, that advantage is
gone.  You may as well help the Free Software movement convert people
in its more thorough fashion.

			    But by slamming the OSS movement you
    are closing an avenue towards helping your vision happen.

I said that it was constructive, but that other things need to be done
as well.  Is that "slamming"?

    And above all, don't make it look like accepting the points that the
    OSS folks make contradicts your goals.

I say that I agree with it, as far as it goes, but it doesn't go far

Where did you get your information about what I say
about the Open Source movement?

      For example the US Civil war was not fought
    over abolishing slavery, it was fought over whether states had the
    right to leave the Union.

That was the superficial issue, but really it was fought about

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