Commercial Open Source: more on what’s missing

Richard Stallman‘s article “Why “Open Source” misses the point of Free Software“ has now been eported and commented by Robin Good.

Apparently my opinions didn’t convince Robin, that says:

In reality, as Stallman points out very clearly in the essay here below, open-source advocates have long stopped promoting the fundamental issues of freedom that are the roots of the Free Software movement in favour of peddling a more commercial and pragmatical approach which looks more at issues like costs, reliability, security, innovation, and at the ability to have access and modify the source code of any software.

As an outsider viewer, I think he is right.

So I took my chance to better explain my thoughts, I report here my comment on his blog:

I didn’t really want to counter attack Richard Stallman’s attack on open-source. I was trying to say is that also open source advocates are contributing to software freedom. It is a matter of perspective: while Richard takes care of users’ freedom, (some) open source firms also take care of software freedom.

I disagree with Richard when he points out that open-source advocates have long stopped promoting the fundamental issues of freedom. He infers from the behavior of some of them a general statement. A the some extent I might say that “free software” is not consistent term because half of “free software” google-alerts are just about freeware and other no Free Software items.

What I believe is important to say here is that a commercial and pragmatical approach can also take into great consideration software freedom. The importance of share and more to keep sharing-alike software (copyleft) for open source firms is synergic with free software advocacy, as it insist on the same values (but for a different reason).

Are all firms interested in Open Source willing to stress the importance of software freedom? Of course not, some of them don’t care, while some end up licensing their products with proprietary licenses.

Open Source firms (may be) are created equal, but some are more equal than others.. let’s keep them as Free Software’s good friends, as they are.

As usual, comments and opinions are welcome.

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