[UPHPU] OT: open source software and freedom (was: Zend Studio)

Mac Newbold mac at macnewbold.com
Tue Jun 7 12:57:48 MDT 2005

Today at 12:09pm, Lonnie Olson said:

>> The practical differences are even smaller than the technical/ideological 
>> ones. Debating them doesn't have much useful purpose that I can see.
> Ok, let me explain the difference.
> http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-software-for-freedom.html
> http://www.slackware.com/book/index.php?source=x68.html
> Open source software, does not specify any freedoms by definition.  An OSS 
> project can have a license that restricts what you do with that source code. 
> This is *not* Free.  Open source only imposes that the project should have 
> source publicly available.  Open source is a development model.

If you're making the source publicly available, it's free for practical 
reasons, because anyone could rip it off and do whatever they want with 
it. (Which may or may not be illegal, but none the less, they can, and 
enforcement is hard.)

> Free Software, specifies Freedom that comes with the source code.  It does not 
> specify that the source code be *publicly* available.  You can choose to only 
> distribute for a fee.  Free Software is a philosophy.

For all practical purposes, "Free but not Open Source" is a moot point. 
Very few people, if any, do that.

> In general *most* Free Software projects are Open source, and many Open source 
> projects are Free.  But this is not inherently linked.

I argue that in the practical sense, they are almost always found 
together. I see no point in further debating the differences.

> Example:
> OSS, but not Free:  Qt under the old license before QPL

You could probably also say something here about MySQL. It's open source, 
and it's Free in some sense, but not free in another sense, because of 
their dual licensing structure. Even GPL'd code isn't really as Free as 
I'd like it to be. BSD is about as close as you can get to public domain, 
isn't it? The Creative Commons licenses are mostly good too, though some 
aren't any better than the GPL.

I don't think there's anyone here that's arguing that Free isn't good, or 
that Open Source isn't good. So let's all just agree to agree on that and 
be done with this.


Mac Newbold		MNE - Mac Newbold Enterprises, LLC
mac at macnewbold.com	http://www.macnewbold.com/

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