Newsgroups: gnu.misc.discuss
From: (Richard S. Smith)
Subject: Re: It's Still Free Software
Message-ID: <>
References: <> <6cadpq$l4m$>
Date: Fri, 20 Feb 1998 07:50:33 GMT

Bruce Perens ( wrote:
: Of course Richard and I have discussed this at length in private.
: In general I support Richard's points. Open Source is just a marketing
: program for Free Software, it doesn't mean the Free Software concept has
: to change, or that you can no longer use the Free Software name. I am
: specificaly aiming at a market segment that we have done a very poor job
: of attracting to Free Software so far. That market segment is very
: important, and they are not going away. We have to do something about
: this, unless you want Microsoft to own all software.

Bruce, I think you and Eric Raymond are on to something important
here.  If Netscape does, in fact, release a browser with a GPL-style
license, all of us in the Free Software community will suddenly feel
as if an 800-pound gorilla just sat down in our living room.  Wussy
but important publications like Information Week, the San Jose Mercury
News and maybe even (gasp!) The Wall Street Journal will start writing
articles examining what the Free Software concept is and what it

It would be a very good idea for us to have a good PR mechanism in
place before this happens, and if the "Open Source" movement wants to
take on this job, more power to 'em.

However, I also applaud RMS for continuing to fly the flag of Free
Software.  There was an excellent editorial in the Linux Journal last
year which compared the various entities in the Free Software
community (FSF, GNU, Linux, Debian, etc.) to political parties in a
European country like Italy, where the left-leaning groups range from
the moderately liberal to full-blooded Communists.

Although I understand the reasoning, I see no reason for RMS to soften
his left-wing stance for the overall sake of "the movement".  If the
"Open Software" group wants to set up a "platform" similar to the FSF,
but take a more "centrist" position, then let them form their own
party, so to speak.

It may also be a good idea give yourselves a real legal name, like the
"Open Source Foundation".  I'd be willing to bet that the Open Group
folks would even give up the "" domain if you asked them
nicely.  ;-)

| Richard S. Smith / / |
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