Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 14th Dec 2009 15:16 UTC, submitted by chully
Gnome Over the weekend, there has been a bit of a ruffling of the feathers over in the GNOME camp. It started with complaints received about the content on Planet GNOME, and ended with people proposing and organising a vote to split GNOME from the GNU Project.
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pjafrombbay
Member since:
2005-07-31

...Software Freedom has nothing to do with chraging money for software.

The GPL explicitly allows for charging for copies of the software. It also makes absolutely no mention of other ways of making money from the software ... hence Red Hat's business model, and Mozilla's business model.

"Free Software" is not about the cost of the software, it is all about the freedom of the code and the freedom of people's acess to that source code.

You are confusing "Freedom" and "Free Software" with "Zero cost". You are probably doing this intentionally.


I know exactly what I meant and am not confusing anything. The point I was making is that many organisations (Sun Microsystems for example with OOo and IBM for Ubuntu) provide a great deal of resources to FOSS projects. Without these contributions many of the more successful FOSS projects either would not exist or would not be as good a product as they are.

I believe that the mis-guided "purity" of no commercial input to FOSS projects is just muddle-headed.

Regards,
Peter

Reply Parent Score: 1

lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

"...Software Freedom has nothing to do with chraging money for software.

The GPL explicitly allows for charging for copies of the software. It also makes absolutely no mention of other ways of making money from the software ... hence Red Hat's business model, and Mozilla's business model.

"Free Software" is not about the cost of the software, it is all about the freedom of the code and the freedom of people's acess to that source code.

You are confusing "Freedom" and "Free Software" with "Zero cost". You are probably doing this intentionally.


I know exactly what I meant and am not confusing anything. The point I was making is that many organisations (Sun Microsystems for example with OOo and IBM for Ubuntu) provide a great deal of resources to FOSS projects. Without these contributions many of the more successful FOSS projects either would not exist or would not be as good a product as they are.

I believe that the mis-guided "purity" of no commercial input to FOSS projects is just muddle-headed.

Regards,
Peter
"

Well, why don't we go to the original source? The entire aim, the origin of the whole concept, if you will.

It is documented here:
http://www.gnu.org/gnu/manifesto.html

The GNU Manifesto (which appears below) was written by Richard Stallman at the beginning of the GNU Project, to ask for participation and support. For the first few years, it was updated in minor ways to account for developments, but now it seems best to leave it unchanged as most people have seen it.

Since that time, we have learned about certain common misunderstandings that different wording could help avoid. Footnotes added since 1993 help clarify these points.


The original motivation is clear:
Why I Must Write GNU

I consider that the golden rule requires that if I like a program I must share it with other people who like it. Software sellers want to divide the users and conquer them, making each user agree not to share with others. I refuse to break solidarity with other users in this way. I cannot in good conscience sign a nondisclosure agreement or a software license agreement. For years I worked within the Artificial Intelligence Lab to resist such tendencies and other inhospitalities, but eventually they had gone too far: I could not remain in an institution where such things are done for me against my will.

So that I can continue to use computers without dishonor, I have decided to put together a sufficient body of free software so that I will be able to get along without any software that is not free. I have resigned from the AI lab to deny MIT any legal excuse to prevent me from giving GNU away (2a).


But there is a lot of confusion about that word "free". In the quote above, it appears to be used both ways.

Are there any other clues?
How GNU Will Be Available

GNU is not in the public domain. Everyone will be permitted to modify and redistribute GNU, but no distributor will be allowed to restrict its further redistribution. That is to say, proprietary modifications will not be allowed. I want to make sure that all versions of GNU remain free.


Well, the fact that GNU is meant to be totally non-proprietary software is perfectly clear, that message comes through very strongly. But what was meant by "free"?

The footnotes, added later, provide the clarification we seek:
# The wording here was careless. The intention was that nobody would have to pay for permission to use the GNU system. But the words don't make this clear, and people often interpret them as saying that copies of GNU should always be distributed at little or no charge. That was never the intent; later on, the manifesto mentions the possibility of companies providing the service of distribution for a profit. Subsequently I have learned to distinguish carefully between “free” in the sense of freedom and “free” in the sense of price. Free software is software that users have the freedom to distribute and change. Some users may obtain copies at no charge, while others pay to obtain copies—and if the funds help support improving the software, so much the better. The important thing is that everyone who has a copy has the freedom to cooperate with others in using it.
# This is another place I failed to distinguish carefully between the two different meanings of “free”. The statement as it stands is not false—you can get copies of GNU software at no charge, from your friends or over the net. But it does suggest the wrong idea.
# The expression ``give away'' is another indication that I had not yet clearly separated the issue of price from that of freedom. We now recommend avoiding this expression when talking about free software. See "Confusing Words and Phrases" for more explanation.


There is nothing at all wrong with companies contributing help, distributing the software, and charging for it via whatever business model they see fit. The important thing is that the source code remains open. That was what was meant by "free". It was so right at the start, it is just as true now, and it will always be true.

The "Free" of Free Software does not mean zero cost. It does not mean no commercial involvement. It never has meant that. What it means is ... no closed-source. No secret software. Everything open, or not included. No compromises on that.

"Free" Software means open software. Open source software. Freedom to change and improve it. Forever.

Edited 2009-12-16 08:47 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2