Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 7th Nov 2017 11:50 UTC
OSNews, Generic OSes

Andrew S. Tanenbaum, creator of MINIX, has published an open letter to Intel regarding Intel's use of MINIX in the IME:

The only thing that would have been nice is that after the project had been finished and the chip deployed, that someone from Intel would have told me, just as a courtesy, that MINIX 3 was now probably the most widely used operating system in the world on x86 computers. That certainly wasn't required in any way, but I think it would have been polite to give me a heads up, that's all.

If nothing else, this bit of news reaffirms my view that the Berkeley license provides the maximum amount of freedom to potential users. If they want to publicize what they have done, fine. By all means, do so. If there are good reasons not to release the modified code, that's fine with me, too.

I can still barely believe this whole story.

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RE[3]: freedom
by tanishaj on Thu 9th Nov 2017 00:55 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: freedom"
tanishaj
Member since:
2010-12-22

This is a ridiculous argument and it remains ridiculous.


Any argument that assumes as a fact that closed source in a for-fee product is wrong is ridiculous.

Any Open Source license that allows code to be used in a Close Source product provides a freedom to the maker of that product. That freedom is a good thing.

If the provider of a product chooses to make the code for their product available to others, that is also a good thing.

It does not follow that providing a product that does not provide access to the source code is a bad thing. There is nothing wrong with it. The potential users are free to use or not use the software based on that attribute just as they are free to choose software based on a number of other factors.

There is no difference, ethically, between a company writing it's own software and keeping the source closed than there is in using an Open Source license and keeping it closed. Insisting it is, without citing compelling reasons, is a ridiculous argument that remains ridiculous.

Free Software ( a la GPL ) is a different beast in terms of obligations. Again, it is up to the original author how they want to interact with the world.

For most things, I prefer Open Source to Free Software.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[4]: freedom
by ssokolow on Thu 9th Nov 2017 02:25 in reply to "RE[3]: freedom"
ssokolow Member since:
2010-01-21

I think you're misunderstanding the terms and are actually trying to draw a distinction between "permissive" and "copyleft" licenses.

(Permissive being BSD-like and copyleft being GPL-like)

If you actually look at their defining documents, there's not really much concrete difference between "Free Software" and "Open Source" aside from how one might try to language-lawyer their definitions.

The Free Software Definition doesn't require copyleft (in fact, they explicitly say that they consider non-copylefted free software to be ethical too.), nor do the Open Source Definition or the Debian Free Software Guidelines. (the DFSG being the third big document people turn to.)


All explicitly allow permissive licensing and the most noteworthy characteristics are:

1. The Free Software Definition uses the fewest bullet points, thanks to its "four freedoms" formulation.

2. The Open Souce Definition put the most effort into being apolitical, at the cost of more bullet points and a little more wiggle room to lawyer the letter of the definition for lack of as srong an underlying philosophy.

3. The Debian Free Software Guidelines communicate roughly the same thing as the Free Software Definition, but aim to be more explicit about things that the Free Software Definition trusted legal precedent on.

(And they paired it with a bunch of thought experiments to help answer questions about whether something is compliant. See "Q: How can I tell if a license is a free software license, by Debian's standards?" in the DFSG FAQ.)

Compare for yourself:

https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-sw.html.en
https://opensource.org/docs/osd
https://www.debian.org/social_contract#guidelines
https://people.debian.org/~bap/dfsg-faq.html

Edited 2017-11-09 02:29 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 4