Free software, is it really unambiguous?

Richard Stallman argued that the explanation for “free software” is simple – free speech, not free beer – and there is no such succinct way to explain the official meaning of “open source”.

He also sustained that:

The official definition of “open source software,” as published by the Open Source Initiative, is very close to our definition of free software; however, it is a little looser in some respects, and they have accepted a few licenses that we consider unacceptably restrictive of the users.

As I already pointed out definitions of free software and open source are both vague, and beyond definitions both organizations decide unilaterally if a license qualifies or not.

Today reading about a weird comparison of Software libre and Life libre, I sorted out that people misunderstand also what free software advocates are advocating: definitions after all are just definitions, facts matter!

Richard Stallman noticed also that companies involved with FLOSS seek to gain the favorable cachet of “open source” also for their proprietary products, calling themselves “open source company”:

But companies do not seem to use the term “free software” that way; perhaps its association with idealism makes it seem unsuitable. The term “open source” opened the door for this.

I believe he is totally right.

Be Sociable, Share!