[discuss] Reuters: Novell could be banned from selling Linux:
evan at telly.org
Mon Feb 12 12:08:35 EST 2007
Russell McOrmond wrote:
> This shouldn't be about the FSF. I haven't yet heard an argument
> against the GPLv3 that was not itself a disagreement with either a
> legal interpretation (where the lawyers have all sided with the FSF's
> interpretation) or against the basic goals or concepts behind the Free
> Software movement.
I think that the key is in the last few words of that paragraph.
The distinction between those who identify themselves as "free software"
advocates and those who identify with "open source" have different
motivations but (often) similar results. The best way I can sum this up
in my own mind is that open source people are OK with a coexistence of
open and proprietary techniques, even of interoperability between them.
The free software supporter, OTOH, will always prefer the free option
even if the proprietary version is superior in quality (believing that
eventually the free option will catch up).
The manifestation of this in the Linus/FSF debate, it seems to me, is
that the kernel programmers are willing to accept certain levels of
interaction with the proprietary world that are unacceptable to Free
It is totally possible that the kernel developers don't share (all of)
the goals of the Free Software movement. Indeed, it's possible that they
don't even consider themselves as part of _any_ "movement", just a
project with an unorthodox model of development and distribution.
Where I understand Etienne's complaint comes from times I have heard to
Stallman (on multiple occasions) refer to open source as "free software
without ethics". That particular kind of advocacy is IMO deliberately
insulting, crossing the line from promoting benefits of free software to
provoking others to outrage in the aims of cheap publicity. Clearly the
FSF prefers being disliked over being ignored, and IMO this attitude has
adversely affected what should be a peaceful internal debate.
This characteristic isn't limited to our realm -- in diplomacy, any time
there's debate between dogmatists and pragmatists, this kind of
difficulty ensues. The pragmatist is willing to compromise but the
dogmatist won't, which leads the pragmatist to harden an adversarial
IOW, anyone who can help diffuse the situation between Linus and
Stallman should be immediately be deployed to the Middle East.
More information about the discuss