Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 17th Dec 2007 16:32 UTC, submitted by lmvaz
OpenBSD Richard Stallman sent a message to OpenBSD-Misc, explaining why he doesn't recommend OpenBSD. "From what I have heard, OpenBSD does not contain non-free software (though I am not sure whether it contains any non-free firmware blobs). However, its ports system does suggest non-free programs, or at least so I was told when I looked for some BSD variant that I could recommend. I therefore exercise my freedom of speech by not including OpenBSD in the list of systems that I recommend to the public." His mail started a huge thread (that's just page 1) and since then he's under a blast of messages from Theo de Raadt and the OpenBSD users. De Raadt replied: "Richard, you are wrong. You said very clearly in your interview that the ports tree contains non-free software. It does not. It is just a scaffold of Makefiles containing URLs, and an occasional patch here or there. You are just plain wrong. And you are not enough of a man to admit that you are wrong. I may be unfriendly at times, but you are a power-misusing hypocritical liar who attacks projects that try harder than any others to only make free software available. Shame on you."
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searly
Member since:
2006-02-27

" Thus, GPL does not promote free as in freedom "

well ... no, you obviously don't fully understand the GPL. GPL promotes an ensures freedom, because it restricts that which would restrict freedom (i.e use the source and close it or not contribute back). In this way GPL ensures software freedom more than BSD does. The freedom to restrict someone else's freedom does not make sense if you want to ensure the freedom (as defined in the four freedoms in the GPL) of everybody (which essentially BSD style licences allow). Anyway the GPL does what it does very well.

Reply Parent Score: 16

eggs Member since:
2006-01-23

He obviously does fully understand the GPL, because what he said is true.

We all know the point of the GPL and its admirable. If you don't want your code used in proprietary software then it is your right, use the GPL, but calling it more free than the BSD license is fallacious.

Reply Parent Score: 13

wirespot Member since:
2006-06-21

It would be so if there was a clear shot at "freedom". But there isn't.

Absolut freedom is a pipe dream, an abstract. If you allow anything to be done with your software it means you also allow someone making it non-free. Some people may like it that way. FSF doesn't, and that's why we have GPL.

To achieve realistic freedom, at the very least you have to include one condition: to disallow the software to be made non-free. GPL may seem complex and convoluted and restrictive, but in today's day and age that is the absolute minimum that had to be done to ensure that free software stays free.

Blame it on the world we live in, not on FSF, RMS or GPL. In a perfect world the BSD license would be all that's needed. Hell, public domain would be all that's needed, everybody would be fair and we wouldn't even need copyright law to tell us what fair means. But it's not a perfect world, is it.

Reply Parent Score: 6

jtrapp Member since:
2005-07-06

well ... no, you obviously don't fully understand the GPL. GPL promotes an ensures freedom, because it restricts that which would restrict freedom

George Orwell could not have put it better himself.

Reply Parent Score: 11

g2devi Member since:
2005-07-09

This has nothing to do with Orwell.

*All* laws are based on restricting freedom of some people so others can have more freedom. The old saying "Your freedom to swing your arms around ends at my nose" is based on this principle.

If you want complete freedom, you want a Darwinian world where might makes right and anything that you can get away with is right. If I'm bigger and stronger than anyone else, then I have the right to hit anyone in the nose. You have the "right" to hit me back, of course, but you won't be able to because I can pound you into power before you even get close.

The GPL is based on the "quid pro quo" principle of "If you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours". If you want to play by those rules, then fine. If not, then fine too -- just don't expect that other people are your development slaves.
The BSD is based on the principle of charity (the only thing asked back is recognition). It is a noble mindset which it would be great if it were universal, but the moment one starts yelling that others leach your software, you're revealing a closet GPL hypocrasy.

I don't know if OpenBSD is or is not "completely free" in Stallman's purist philosophy. But like him or hate him, it is very consistent so if it was a misunderstanding, OpenBSD will be recognized.
But if it isn't, then, so what? If OpenBSD really cared about Stallman's opinion, it'll either create Gobuntu-like fork that allows a purist OpenBSD to be created or it'll go the distance and fix the issues, if there are any, at the expense of it's less pure OpenBSD users.
And if they don't care, they Stallman-type purists aren't their target customers anyway, so it's a waist of breath.

Reply Parent Score: 11

Oliver Member since:
2006-07-15

"ensuring" *freedom* is the first step to dictatorship. It's no freedom at all.

Reply Parent Score: 2

cyclops Member since:
2006-03-12

"ensuring" *freedom* is the first step to dictatorship. It's no freedom at all.


Thats the American constitution..and the Magna Carta torn up then. Although its interesting you mention Dictatorship isn't that more Microsofts domain ;) .

Reply Parent Score: 1

dreamlax Member since:
2007-01-04

"ensuring" *freedom* is the first step to dictatorship. It's no freedom at all.


I agree somewhat. There is the freedom to do whatever the hell you want, then there's the freedom to do what is ethically or morally right.

Reply Parent Score: 1

Dubbayoo Member since:
2006-02-09

If:

The freedom to restrict someone else's freedom does not make sense


is true then:

GPL promotes an ensures freedom, because it restricts that which would restrict freedom


must not make sense either.

Reply Parent Score: 2

tomcat Member since:
2006-01-06

well ... no, you obviously don't fully understand the GPL. GPL promotes an ensures freedom, because it restricts that which would restrict freedom

It's really a question of how you define "freedom". Personally, I consider freedom to be a condition that is free from restrictions -- or, at least, as many restrictions as possible. Compared to the BSD license, which has practically no restrictions whatsoever except for attributing sources, GPL is much more restrictive; hence, less free.

Reply Parent Score: 2