Linked by David Adams on Thu 1st Jul 2010 08:52 UTC
GNU, GPL, Open Source The HURD was meant to be the true kernel at the heart of the GNU operating system. The promise behind the HURD was revolutionary -- a set of daemons on top of a microkernel that was intended to surpass the performance of the monolithic kernels of traditional Unix systems and in doing so, give greater security, freedom and flexibility to the users -- but it has yet to come down to earth.
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google_ninja
Member since:
2006-02-05

I was trying to find a good piece to quote that sums it up, but I think you really need to read http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-software-for-freedom.html and http://www.gnu.org/gnu/why-gnu-linux.html to understand where they are coming from.

The reason for the existence of the FSF is to promote the GPL. The reason for the GPL is to eliminate proprietary software, because proprietary software is morally wrong. That means the goals are completely ideological, with some pleasant practical side effects.

Open Source is there for completely practical reasons, to promote sharing of work for common infrastructure, instead of everyone reimplementing the wheel privately over and over again. It doesn't really make any moral judgments, in fact, if you read ESRs "The Magic Cauldron" essay, he actually says there are certain things that really should be and stay proprietary for a business to make sense.

Now, there is some overlap between the two groups, because at the end of the day, while the motivations are different, the ideas in actually writing software are the same. The problem with linux is that because it is by far the most visible FOSS project out there, Linus is so far on the open source side of things, that its success isn't really achieving the goal of Free Software, which is ideology.

99% of the time, this stuff doesn't really come up anywhere (unless you listen to talks by RMS), but the linux project is one of those places. Linus has said before he doesn't want to limit ways people can use the kernel, all he wants that if they piggyback off of his project, that they are required to share any modifications they do. Thats why he doesn't have a problem with kernel level DRM (for example). Thats fine from an OSS point of view, but from a FSF point of view that is downright heresy. If they had a 100% FSF driven OS out there, they could actually stop things like that, or things like binary drivers in the kernel, or things like tivo requiring signed kernels to run on their device.

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