I've probably misunderstood the difference between the open source, and the free software movements

83 replies [Last post]
ADFENO
Offline
Joined: 12/31/2012

I've made this topic just to discuss a possible misunderstanding made by me, on the difference between the two movements. I started to think about this possibility quite recently, after tireless chatting sessions with the free software activists from Brazil.

This discussion isn't meant to spread fear, uncertainty, or doubt. That means this discussion seeks to enlighten those who are uncertain of the differences between these two movements, and also serves to strengthen our overall knowledge, not localizing the acquired knowledge just to a subset of our activists or supporters/followers.

Until recently, I thought that the supporters of the Open Source Definition didn't care much for the licenses they used for their project. And so I thought that under this definition, software development wouldn't care if the result depends on things with no license and with no source code available (considering only functional data), or things with restrictive licenses such as the Sybase Open Watcom Public License version 1.0[1][2][3].

However, after having a chat with a Brazilian nicknamed Aurium (which, if I'm not mistaken, is the one who made the bold gnu head[6]), and after rereading the article from the GNU project which states that the Open Source Definition doesn't share the same goals as the Free Software Definition[5], and also after having a chat with another free software activist from Brazil, called Anahuac, along many other people which I forgot the names, I have found some interesting information that I want to discuss further:

1. It seems that, just because a might-be-free software recommends or suggests non-free software, it doesn't make the software non-free.

2. Also, as far as I know by now, a might-be-free software which depends on non-free software is non-free. Except in the cases where the software which uses the dependency has a goal to replace the non-free dependency partially, or as a whole.

3. Due to the informations in 1 and 2, it seems that using the licensing differences as main argument isn't strong enough.

4. Due to the information in 1, 2 and 3, the strongest difference between the Open Source Definition and the Free Software Definition seems to be that: The Open Source Definition doesn't have a provision against tivoization, restricted boot or digital restrictions/rights management (DRM).

5. Considering 1, 2, 3, and 4. In practice, this means that, even if the complete corresponding source is available and correctly licensed to the effect that all the functional data (in which software is included) is "free", and all non-functional data can, at least, be redistributed non-commercially ("redistributed non-commercially" = "shared"), the resulting work can contain, under the Open Source Definition at least, mechanisms which deny the users' freedom towards the functional data like, as stated earlier: tivoization, restricted boot or digital restrictions/rights management (DRM), and other mechanisms which prevent the user to exercise the freedom to use adaptations of the functional data (freedom 0).

6. Supporters of the Open Source Definition generally appeal to consumer values to get trust from society, like prioritizing security or ease of use. Similar to the Dale Carnegie compromise, according to "Avoiding Ruinous Compromises" which is available at the GNU project's website[4].

7. If we consider 5 to be the main difference, then the Linux kernel source is free and open source, but some resulting builds could be non-free software due to the way they're made[5]. This could be the true reason as to why Linux-libre is needed.

8. If we consider 5 to be the main difference, and take into account item 1, then we must question why some projects aren't free software and others are, for example: OpenOffice (has no clear policy regarding the inclusion of non-free extensions in the extensions repositories it hosts or recommends) and LibreOffice (which apparently just removes the OpenOffice extensions repositories). Firefox and Thunderbird don't count to this issue because both check for signatures in the add-ons, and there's no easy way to disable it for unsigned add-ons or for all add-ons (confirmation message or visible and understandable option to toggle by normal users), and Firefox will have DRM support shortly.

So, for those who have read my rather long comments explaining trying to explain the differences between the two, and for those who have been influence by these comments: Please accept my apology, and take the time to read this topic, its comments, and also comment if you want.

As an addendum, I would also like to bring some other questions, which were also brought by other free software activists and supporters/followers from Brazil (my current opinions/answers are expressed below each question, although they can change in the future):

1. Do you think that non-free software should be installed by us to a computer user, if for example, we can't manage to buy hardware (either charging the user, or by charity or crowd-funding between us) to replace the hardware which requires non-free software to work?

1. My answer: For me, personally, I wouldn't install it, unless the user is held responsible for my actions and so agrees to represent me, because, if someone comes to me asking about the service, I wouldn't need to justify my action, the user would have to do it for me. The main reason for this is that it's a ruinous compromise, and spreads the moral dilemma caused by the absence of the essential freedoms.

2. Do you think that we can recommend or teach the user how to use the non-free software, specifically speaking (such as a command which is only available to that non-free software)?

2. My answer: I personally think that it is unethical. However, since the "specifically" word is there, if the user asks me how to place a shortcut in GNOME 3 for his Lightworks video editor, then I would gladly teach him how to use GNOME 3 for that goal. The main reason for this is that it's a ruinous compromise, and spreads the moral dilemma caused by the absence of the essential freedoms.

3. Do you think that free software activists and supporters/followers can use non-free software?

3. My answer: Yes and no. "Yes" because there everyone has to draw a line on where compromises can be made, and there are some situations where the person is not using it for personal purposes, but due to superior orders or using other's computers. Besides, to develop a free software capable of replacing a non-free one partially or fully, the non-free software can be used. My answer is also "no" because there are some people which tend to extend the compromises further, like using emulators (which many are free software), to play non-free games. However, using for personal purposes is different than redistributing or recommending, because on doing the redistribution or recommendation, you're spreading the moral dilemma caused by the absence of the essential freedoms.

3. Do you think that we can recommend or install non-functional data that can't be redistributed non-commercially ("redistributed non-commercially" = "shared")?

3. My answer: Personally, no because doing so spreads the moral dilemma caused by the absence of the freedom to redistribute the work at least non-commercially.

4. Do you think that we can play/watch/view non-functional data that can't be redistributed non-commercially ("redistributed non-commercially" = "shared")?

4. My answer: Personally, Yes, as far as I can understand, we can even download it for personal use only. However, using for personal purposes is different than redistributing or recommending, because on doing the redistribution or recommendation, you're spreading the moral dilemma caused by the absence of the freedom to redistribute the work at least non-commercially.

So, this is the start of this topic! Feel free to comment here and discuss all the points made and also the questions given and the answers given by me. I hope that this doesn't get off-topic.

[1] http://www.gnu.org/licenses/license-list.en.html#Watcom
[2] http://opensource.org/licenses/alphabetical
[3] http://opensource.org/licenses/Watcom-1.0
[4] http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/compromise.en.html
[5] http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/open-source-misses-the-point.html.en
[6] http://www.gnu.org/graphics/heckert_gnu.en.html

ADFENO
Offline
Joined: 12/31/2012

I've made this topic just to discuss a possible misunderstanding made by me,
on the difference between the two movements. I started to think about this
possibility quite recently, after tireless chatting sessions with the free
software activists from Brazil.

This discussion isn't meant to spread fear, uncertainty, or doubt. That means
this discussion seeks to enlighten those who are uncertain of the differences
between these two movements, and also serves to strengthen our overall
knowledge, not localizing the acquired knowledge just to a subset of our
activists or supporters/followers.

Until recently, I thought that the supporters of the Open Source Definition
didn't care much for the licenses they used for their project. And so I
thought that under this definition, software development wouldn't care if the
result depends on things with no license and with no source code available
(considering only functional data), or things with restrictive licenses such
as the Sybase Open Watcom Public License version 1.0[1][2][3].

However, after having a chat with a Brazilian nicknamed Aurium (which, if I'm
not mistaken, is the one who made the bold gnu head[6]), and after rereading
the article from the GNU project which states that the Open Source Definition
doesn't share the same goals as the Free Software Definition[5], and also
after having a chat with another free software activist from Brazil, called
Anahuac, along many other people which I forgot the names, I have found some
interesting information that I want to discuss further:

1. It seems that, just because a might-be-free software recommends or
suggests non-free software, it doesn't make the software non-free.

2. Also, as far as I know by now, a might-be-free software which depends on
non-free software is non-free. Except in the cases where the software which
uses the dependency has a goal to replace the non-free dependency partially,
or as a whole.

3. Due to the informations in 1 and 2, it seems that using the licensing
differences as main argument isn't strong enough.

4. Due to the information in 1, 2 and 3, the strongest difference between the
Open Source Definition and the Free Software Definition seems to be that: The
Open Source Definition doesn't have a provision against tivoization,
restricted boot or digital restrictions/rights management (DRM).

5. Considering 1, 2, 3, and 4. In practice, this means that, even if the
complete corresponding source is available and correctly licensed to the
effect that all the functional data (in which software is included) is
"free", and all non-functional data can, at least, be redistributed
non-commercially ("redistributed non-commercially" = "shared"), the resulting
work can contain, under the Open Source Definition at least, mechanisms which
deny the users' freedom towards the functional data like, as stated earlier:
tivoization, restricted boot or digital restrictions/rights management (DRM),
and other mechanisms which prevent the user to exercise the freedom to use
adaptations of the functional data (freedom 0).

6. Supporters of the Open Source Definition generally appeal to consumer
values to get trust from society, like prioritizing security or ease of use.
Similar to the Dale Carnegie compromise, according to "Avoiding Ruinous
Compromises" which is available at the GNU project's website[4].

7. If we consider 5 to be the main difference, then the Linux kernel source
is free and open source, but some resulting builds could be non-free software
due to the way they're made[5]. This could be the true reason as to why
Linux-libre is needed.

8. If we consider 5 to be the main difference, and take into account item 1,
then we must question why some projects aren't free software and others are,
for example: OpenOffice (has no clear policy regarding the inclusion of
non-free extensions in the extensions repositories it hosts or recommends)
and LibreOffice (which apparently just removes the OpenOffice extensions
repositories). Firefox and Thunderbird don't count to this issue because both
check for signatures in the add-ons, and there's no easy way to disable it
for unsigned add-ons or for all add-ons (confirmation message or visible and
understandable option to toggle by normal users), and Firefox will have DRM
support shortly.

So, for those who have read my rather long comments explaining trying to
explain the differences between the two, and for those who have been
influence by these comments: Please accept my apology, and take the time to
read this topic, its comments, and also comment if you want.

As an addendum, I would also like to bring some other questions, which were
also brought by other free software activists and supporters/followers from
Brazil (my current opinions/answers are expressed below each question,
although they can change in the future):

1. Do you think that non-free software should be installed by us to a
computer user, if for example, we can't manage to buy hardware (either
charging the user, or by charity or crowd-funding between us) to replace the
hardware which requires non-free software to work?

1. My answer: For me, personally, I wouldn't install it, unless the user is
held responsible for my actions and so agrees to represent me, because, if
someone comes to me asking about the service, I wouldn't need to justify my
action, the user would have to do it for me. The main reason for this is that
it's a ruinous compromise, and spreads the moral dilemma caused by the
absence of the essential freedoms.

2. Do you think that we can recommend or teach the user how to use the
non-free software, specifically speaking (such as a command which is only
available to that non-free software)?

2. My answer: I personally think that it is unethical. However, since the
"specifically" word is there, if the user asks me how to place a shortcut in
GNOME 3 for his Lightworks video editor, then I would gladly teach him how to
use GNOME 3 for that goal. The main reason for this is that it's a ruinous
compromise, and spreads the moral dilemma caused by the absence of the
essential freedoms.

3. Do you think that free software activists and supporters/followers can use
non-free software?

3. My answer: Yes and no. "Yes" because there everyone has to draw a line on
where compromises can be made, and there are some situations where the person
is not using it for personal purposes, but due to superior orders or using
other's computers. Besides, to develop a free software capable of replacing a
non-free one partially or fully, the non-free software can be used. My answer
is also "no" because there are some people which tend to extend the
compromises further, like using emulators (which many are free software), to
play non-free games. However, using for personal purposes is different than
redistributing or recommending, because on doing the redistribution or
recommendation, you're spreading the moral dilemma caused by the absence of
the essential freedoms.

3. Do you think that we can recommend or install non-functional data that
can't be redistributed non-commercially ("redistributed non-commercially" =
"shared")?

3. My answer: Personally, no because doing so spreads the moral dilemma
caused by the absence of the freedom to redistribute the work at least
non-commercially.

4. Do you think that we can play/watch/view non-functional data that can't be
redistributed non-commercially ("redistributed non-commercially" = "shared")?

4. My answer: Personally, Yes, as far as I can understand, we can even
download it for personal use only. However, using for personal purposes is
different than redistributing or recommending, because on doing the
redistribution or recommendation, you're spreading the moral dilemma caused
by the absence of the freedom to redistribute the work at least
non-commercially.

So, this is the start of this topic! Feel free to comment here and discuss
all the points made and also the questions given and the answers given by me.
I hope that this doesn't get off-topic.

[1] http://www.gnu.org/licenses/license-list.en.html#Watcom
[2] http://opensource.org/licenses/alphabetical
[3] http://opensource.org/licenses/Watcom-1.0
[4] http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/compromise.en.html
[5] http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/open-source-misses-the-point.html.en
[6] http://www.gnu.org/graphics/heckert_gnu.en.html

ADFENO
Offline
Joined: 12/31/2012

Another last question:

5. Do you think that we can recommend or install a software just because it's source is available, considering the fact that not all the project has been evaluated?

5. My answer: Generally not, unless it has been reviewed and accepted by the volunteers at the Free Software Directory. Alternatively, I think that it's also acceptable to recommend or install it if the software is present in the repositories of the operating systems approved as being free software.

ADFENO
Offline
Joined: 12/31/2012

Another last question:

5. Do you think that we can recommend or install a software just because it's
source is available, considering the fact that not all the project has been
evaluated?

5. My answer: Generally not, unless it has been reviewed and accepted by the
volunteers at the Free Software Directory. Alternatively, I think that it's
also acceptable to recommend or install it if the software is present in the
repositories of the operating systems approved as being free software.

onpon4
Offline
Joined: 05/30/2012

I think you're interpreting differences where there are none. The primary difference between free software and open source is that free software is about ethics, and open source is about a development methodology. The cases where the OSI and FSF disagree are typically licenses which don't pose major challenges to the open source development model, but which do pose unjust restrictions on users to that end.

> the strongest difference between the Open Source Definition and the Free Software Definition seems to be that: The Open Source Definition doesn't have a provision against tivoization, restricted boot or digital restrictions/rights management (DRM).

The GNU GPL version 3 is the only major license that effectively forbids tivoization. No libre license forbids DRM; version 3 of the GNU GPL simply states that no feature in the program is to be interpreted as an "effective technological protection measure" under the WIPO treaties (DMCA, etc). Restricted boot isn't addressed in any software license at all.

It's true that the OSI doesn't really speak out against these problems, but that's because the OSI has nothing to do with these things. Remember, open source is presented as a development methodology, distinct from any ethical values or politics.

> the resulting work can contain, under the Open Source Definition at least, mechanisms which deny the users' freedom towards the functional data like, as stated earlier: tivoization, restricted boot or digital restrictions/rights management (DRM), and other mechanisms which prevent the user to exercise the freedom to use adaptations of the functional data (freedom 0).

Sure, this kind of thing happens all the time. Usually, an open source proponent will use terms like "powered by open source" or "contains open source" to distinguish such a case from something that is actually open source.

The primary difference from the free software community is that we don't respect proprietary programs being derived from libre software; we treat them the same as any other proprietary program. This just comes down to open source only being a development methodology; to an open source proponent, inclusion of open source software in a proprietary program is only proof that the development model has produced high-quality software, and thus a flattering gesture.

> the Linux kernel source is free and open source, but some resulting builds could be non-free software due to the way they're made[5]. This could be the true reason as to why Linux-libre is needed.

No, you are mistaken. Linux, as distributed by Torvalds, contains proprietary software in the form of firmware blobs, and thus it is proprietary. Linux-libre just removes those blobs. It has nothing to do with how the software was made or how it is compiled.

> Do you think that non-free software should be installed by us to a computer user, if for example, we can't manage to buy hardware (either charging the user, or by charity or crowd-funding between us) to replace the hardware which requires non-free software to work?

In other words: "Is it better to help someone use their computer at all by installing a required proprietary program for them, or is it better to refuse to help them and leave them with a pastic brick?" There's nuance in the answer, so I'm afraid there can't be any one that fits all cases. You have to consider what that device will do for the person. If it will help them survive somehow, then I would consider it morally wrong to refuse to help them on the grounds that doing so will involve installing some proprietary software. On the other hand, if it will give them only entertainment in exchange for a very high risk of state surveillance, I would consider it morally wrong to help them get it working. Others may disagree with me on either of these cases. I suspect a lot of open source proponents would agree with me on the former case, while they wouldn't see any moral dilemma at all in the latter case.

> Do you think that we can recommend or teach the user how to use the non-free software, specifically speaking (such as a command which is only available to that non-free software)?

Teaching people things is never unethical. If you start to consider the spread of knowledge to be unethical, you go down a slippery slope that leads to acceptance or even advocacy of censorship. There might be things you'd rather not teach people, though. Each individual has to decide on their own.

> Do you think that we can recommend or install non-functional data that can't be redistributed non-commercially ("redistributed non-commercially" = "shared")?

I think denying ourselves non-libre culture, and thus almost the entirety of our own cultures, is not a useful way to enact change. What we should be doing to this end is encouraging people to infringe copyright law by sharing whenever they want to, and saying that unauthorized sharing (or "piracy") is good. When enough people think that copyright shouldn't be a thing, it will go away. So no, there's nothing wrong with giving your friend a copyrighted, "all rights reserved" image.

> Do you think that we can play/watch/view non-functional data that can't be redistributed non-commercially ("redistributed non-commercially" = "shared")?

See above. If you refuse to take any part in a culture dominated by proprietary works, how can you possibly enact change within that culture? I would say, take part in it, but pay little heed to the unjust law that is copyright, and encourage others to do so as well.

moxalt
Offline
Joined: 06/19/2015

> 1. It seems that, just because a might-be-free software recommends
> or suggests non-free software, it doesn't make the software non-free.

This is true. I think it is bad for free software to have non-free
dependencies, but that being the case does not negate the software
license and make it magically non-free.

> 3. Due to the informations in 1 and 2, it seems that using the
> licensing differences as main argument isn't strong enough.

Open-source and free software are almost identical in terms of
licensing. It is how they are advocated that is the key difference- the
free software movement uses an ethical, philosophical narrative to
promote free software primarily to users, while open-source promotes
free software as a more efficient development model for making 'better'
software, primarily to businesses.

> 4. Due to the information in 1, 2 and 3, the strongest difference
> between the Open Source Definition and the Free Software Definition
> seems to be that: The Open Source Definition doesn't have a provision
> against tivoization, restricted boot or digital restrictions/rights
> management (DRM).
>
> 5. Considering 1, 2, 3, and 4. In practice, this means that, even if
> the complete corresponding source is available and correctly licensed
> to the effect that all the functional data (in which software is
> included) is "free", and all non-functional data can, at least, be
> redistributed non-commercially ("redistributed non-commercially" =
> "shared"), the resulting work can contain, under the Open Source
> Definition at least, mechanisms which deny the users' freedom towards
> the functional data like, as stated earlier: tivoization, restricted
> boot or digital restrictions/rights management (DRM), and other
> mechanisms which prevent the user to exercise the freedom to use
> adaptations of the functional data (freedom 0).

Free software can implement DRM. There is nothing in the GFSD which
prohibits it.

DRM is a secondary evil, the implementation of which is facilitated by
the licensing of non-free software. You could have DRM in free
software- but no one would use it since the community would quickly get
rid of it. Free software is adequate protection against secondary,
tangible injustices such as DRM and other malware functionalities.

> 6. Supporters of the Open Source Definition generally appeal to
> consumer values to get trust from society, like prioritizing security
> or ease of use. Similar to the Dale Carnegie compromise, according to
> "Avoiding Ruinous Compromises" which is available at the GNU
> project's website[4].

Yes. That was the general tactic of the early OSM in the late 90s- to
get free software widespread in business by dropping the ethical
narrative.

> 1. Do you think that non-free software should be installed by us to
> a computer user, if for example, we can't manage to buy hardware
> (either charging the user, or by charity or crowd-funding between us)
> to replace the hardware which requires non-free software to work?

Possibly. This could either be a beneficial or ruinous compromise,
depending on the circumstance.

If the installation of non-free software is merely a holding action to
the arrival of freedom-friendly hardware, then yes, I would do so to
make life easier for the user in the meantime. Provided it is in the
long-term interests of freedom, I think this is permissible, this being
a beneficial compromise where non-free software becomes the means to
the end of freedom- much like how GNU installs non-free software
occasionally in order to reverse-engineer or produce a replacement for
it.

On the other hand, if some laptop is released which only works with
Windows, then that's just a terrible product, and should be rejected
outright rather than any compromise sought.

> 2. Do you think that we can recommend or teach the user how to use
> the non-free software, specifically speaking (such as a command which
> is only available to that non-free software)?

That's a difficult one. That would depend on whether the action
entailed would be a ruinous or beneficial compromise.

For example- I would not help someone with Microsoft Word- I would tell
them to install LibreOffice and then offer them assistance with that.
Just blatantly helping people with non-free software is bad, because it
normalises and promotes the former use of the same.

On the other hand, if a user is awaiting the delivery of a ThinkPenguin
wifi adapter, and is using non-free wifi firmware for the in-built card
in the meantime, then I would gladly show her how to connect to wifi
using the GNOME network manager (or whatever), in order to improve her
proficiency with the remainder of the free operating system, and so
smooth her transition into free software. In fact, in that case I would
actively endorse the use of non-free firmware- if it is only a holding
action until freedom-friendly hardware arrives, and so serves the
long-term goal of freedom.

That would be a beneficial compromise.

By the way, the example you gave here for the situation you describe
isn't really relevant. Teaching someone how to create a GNOME shortcut
isn't teaching them how to use non-free software, it's teaching them to
use a free desktop environment- which can be used with any software,
free or otherwise. What the user decides to use their shortcut-creating
faculties is up to them.

Helping them to use Lightworks directly would be bad for obvious
reasons.

> 3. Do you think that free software activists and supporters/followers
> can use non-free software?

Yes. If there is a greater evil to which non-free software is lesser,
then of course non-free software use is permissible. If someone is
undergoing a medical emergency of some sort, and you use their iPhone
to call the emergency services, then it is acceptable as a lesser evil
to save said person from harm.

Another case in which I personally think non-free software can be used
is in the case of non-free firmware if it is absolutely necessary. This
is one important area of compromise- I would never have even
encountered the issue of freedom without non-free firmware, so there is
one.

Anecdote: tired of Windows 8, I decided to try the mythical "Linux" of
which I had heard tell. I settled on Debian, but my laptop required
non-free firmware for wifi. Not caring about freedom at the time, I
installed non-free firmware- which was what allowed me to use my
laptop, which is what sent me down the road towards being a committed
GNU/Linux user, which is what had me encounter the FSF and free
software in the first place, for which I am now a fanatical evangelist.

If it weren't for that compromise, I would still be using Windows.

I think the protection of our fragile ecology is a more important
issue- one directly impacting the survival of our species- than free
software, and I would rather use some non-free software than waste
hardware.

> 3. Do you think that we can recommend or install non-functional data
> that can't be redistributed non-commercially ("redistributed
> non-commercially" = "shared")?

Capitalism is a system which is antithetical to sharing and mutual aid.
As long as it exists, the tendency will always be for capital to attack
solidarity and sharing. I think it is futile to campaign for free data
at the moment. We should focus our efforts on overthrowing capitalism-
and free data is not a crucial reform that should be fought for in the
context of the present system. On the other hand, it is essential that
popular control of software and computing as a whole exist, since
without it, there can be no effective digital resistance.

> 4. Do you think that we can play/watch/view non-functional data that
> can't be redistributed non-commercially ("redistributed
> non-commercially" = "shared")?

I think we *can* do it, in the sense that we as humans are capable of
doing it. Whether we *should* do it, on the other hand, is another
matter entirely. I do use non-free non-functional data of all kinds-
books, films, game files, artwork, etc. throughout all my diverse
spheres of activity.

One reason is simply one of practicality- there is
very little non-functional data which actually is free, when it comes
to things like films. Most are licensed under the Copyright Act to
prevent "piracy" (unauthorised copying/distribution). If I decided to
reject all non-free media in the same way I reject all non-free
software, then my house would undergo a purge of magnificent
proportions and there isn't really much I would be capable of.

The movement for free non-functional data is the free *culture*
movement, not the free *software* movement, and the two should not be
confused. While I am a firm supporter of the latter, I am more
ambivalent about the former- although free software is incredibly
important in the here and now (and in any hypothetical society) and
should be advocated because non-free software is a social evil, free
culture is directly incompatible (to a great extent) with capitalism,
and it is mostly futile to try and push for free media when we live in
a profit system.

Off-topic- one example of me using non-free, non-redistributable data
is my use of the Morrowind world data files, packaged with the
proprietary game Morrowind. Although I reject the non-free software
component to the game (the game engine), and use OpenMW instead, I
don't particularly care about the game data- I consider it in the same
ethical position as The Magnificent Seven, a film (which I watched last
night) which is not free. Since I already have a copy of Morrowind in
my possession (purchased before I learnt of free software) and so using
the data files does not incentivise further non-free software
production, I still play the 'game' (access the world, that is) but
with a free 'client'- OpenMW.

Basically, I think free software is a seriously pressing issue, and
directly impinges both on user freedom and society's computational
sovereignty, while free culture is not as important at the moment. I
prioritise the former over the latter.

tl;dr Yes, why not. Free software is more important- after all it is a
tool which should be controlled by the user, while non-functional data
is just a purchased experience, much like a rollercoaster ticket or
something.

If anyone wishes to respond, please send me your response directly to
name at domain since the Trisquel mailing list still isn't working
for some reason, and I probably won't be bothered to check the board
via the web.

ADFENO
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Joined: 12/31/2012

About non-functional data, perhaps we ended up talking about
different movements when approaching the relevant questions...

I'm not for free culture. However, "free culture" is different from
"non-funcional data for non-commercial redistribution". Most people
think that they're the same (and in fact I was caught by that mistake
for almost 5 years).

One of the reasons why I don't follow the free culture anymore is that
they apply the same four freedoms of functional data to non-functional
data, and this at the current stage of overal non-functional data that
would respect the same four freedoms, would only leave us with some
scattered cultural works that no collection has provided yet, not even
Jamendo. Besides, we would have to ask every single artist to
distribute the complete corresponding source files of their work, and
if they do so and use a file format only used mainly by non-free
software then, according to the Definition of Cultural Works, it
doesn't belong to the free culture[1].

Besides, the Definition of Free Cultural Works has different approved
licenses if compared to the free software movement (or free functional
data movement, for a broader coverage). For example, where the free
software movement accepts Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs for
personal opinion[2], th free culture movement considers it to be
non-free[3]. Another example is that they don't accept the GNU FDL
entirely, just when the licensor (copyright holder) chooses to remove
some invariant sections[4].

For the free software movement, however, the only freedom that
non-functional data should have is the freedom to be redistributed
non-commercially[5]. That is, the freedom to be shared, legally.
There's a special case for such non-functional data, when being
included in a free system distribution, it must have the freedom to be
redistributed both commercial and non-commercially[6].

[1] http://freedomdefined.org/Definition#Defining_Free_Cultural_Works
[2] http://www.gnu.org/licenses/license-list.en.html#OpinionLicenses
[3] http://freedomdefined.org/Licenses#Commentary_on_non-free_licenses
[4] http://freedomdefined.org/Licenses#GNU_Free_Documentation_License
[5]
http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/google-engineering-talk.html#copyright-art-vs-software
[6]
http://www.gnu.org/distros/free-system-distribution-guidelines.en.html#non-functional-data

moxalt
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Joined: 06/19/2015

> I'm not for free culture. However, "free culture" is different from
> "non-funcional data for non-commercial redistribution". Most people
> think that they're the same (and in fact I was caught by that mistake
> for almost 5 years).

Thank you for clearing up the misconception. I'll have to do some
thinking about non-commercially redistributable data.

t3g
t3g
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Joined: 05/15/2011

The most important thing to consider is the license. As long as the license is both Free Software and Open Source approved (GPL, Apache, BSD variants, MIT, MPL), they are the same thing and you can appease to both camps. Its just that the two camps have different ideologies on how we should be emotionally attached to that software.

moxalt
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Joined: 06/19/2015

> on how we should be emotionally attached to that software.

'Emotionally attached' is an interesting turn of phrase.

The real difference is one of advocacy- open source advocates free
software as a superior development process, primarily to businesses,
while the free software movement advocates free software as an ethical
imperative, with focus on the user rather than the developer.

Is that what you meant?

strypey
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Joined: 05/14/2015

What about me? I advocate for free code software and software freedom. I also advocate for open source methodology, not just in software, but in everything (eg Wikipedia, OpenStreetMap, SourceMap, Appropedia, Open Source Ecology, Thingiverse etc). Which movement am I part of? I guess I must be part of both. Everyone I know who advocates for libre software is part of both. So can you really say there are two movements, or one movement with a couple of puritan factions who like to counterproductively hate on each other (see my link to Mike Linksvayer's article at the bottom of the thread)?

Magic Banana

I am a member!

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Joined: 07/24/2010

Which movement am I part of? I guess I must be part of both.

You are. What is the problem? People stand for different values. For instance, see https://stallman.org for many of the values rms stands for. And see the warning at the top of the page: "The views expressed here are my personal views, not those of the Free Software Foundation or the GNU Project".

The single term that identifies you is your name.

Everyone I know who advocates for libre software is part of both.

Know us. The Trisquel community is a "free software" community: https://trisquel.info/en/wiki/trisquel-community-guidelines

It values freedoms above the technical quality of the software. We make technical sacrifices when we decide not to use proprietary software (which can be technically better) for the sake of having control over our computing (and, no, that does not mean we are "pure"). "Open source" communities do not do that.

strypey
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>> We make technical sacrifices when we decide not to use proprietary software (which can be technically better) for the sake of having control over our computing (and, no, that does not mean we are "pure"). "Open source" communities do not do that. <<

My problem with your argument is that it is an example of the "no true Scotsman" fallacy. "No true free software advocate" would *ever* use proprietary software, therefore, anyone who does *ever* use proprietary software is "no true free software advocate". The problem, as we've established elsewhere in the thread, is that all of us sometimes use proprietary software, even though we aspire to avoid this.

You might argue that there is a more nuanced difference, that "free software advocate" only use proprietary software when there is no free alternative at all (eg the firmware built into all our hardware), while "open source users" will use whichever software performs better at any given time. In my experience, what you call "open source users" are in fact "new free code software users", and what you call "free software advocates" are in fact "veteran free software users"
who feel more empowered to find a free code program that serves their need, and solve any problems they may encounter in using it. What you're describing is not two competing philosophies, but two levels of experience and confidence.

Another problems with this argument is the fact that it ignores the power of the network effect; a free software advocate might concede to use Skype because otherwise she cannot speak to her dying parents, because Skype is something they already have and know how to use, and she doesn't have time to teach them a free code alternative.

Magic Banana

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"No true free software advocate" would *ever* use proprietary software, therefore, anyone who does *ever* use proprietary software is "no true free software advocate".

You really want free software advocates to pass a "purity test"! I only wrote that the free software movement considers that freedoms in our computing lives is more important than the technical quality of the software. The open source movement ranks those values in the opposite way.

The free software movement aims to have free software to do anything we want with computers. We are not there yet and sacrifices (such as using a technically worse program) are needed, otherwise the proprietary status quo will prevail. And, like I already wrote, a transition phase is needed as well: getting rid at once of all the proprietary software on all our machines is a recipe for failure.

Like most if not all Trisquel users, I started using more and more free software on a proprietary operating system (in my case, back in 2003 or so: Firefox, OpenOffice now LibreOffice, VLC, Gaim now Pidgin, Emacs, etc.), then double-booted Windows and GNU/Linux + some proprietary software, then only used GNU/Linux + proprietary software (but less and less: finding alternatives and making sacrifices), then switched to an FSF-endorsed distribution (initially, with proprietary firmware for Wifi), etc. I consider I took part in the free software movement as soon as I realized that I deserved freedoms and started to prefer free software (or even no software) to proprietary software, even if it is technically better. And I became an advocate when I started to convince people that they deserve those freedoms, that proprietary software harms them and their communities: I administrate my parents', brother's and wife's Trisquel system, I give an rms-like talk every semester in my university, I try to help Trisquel's users on this forum, etc.

The "purity" you are obsessed with is the goal: today, a free software advocate rarely (never?) is "pure" but she aspires to this purity. Whenever she uses proprietary software, she is not happy with it. She seeks solutions. Hopefully, in the near future, it will be easier and easier to only use free software.

A free software user uses proprietary software when other values she ranks above software freedom requires her to do so. You gave several examples: not buying new hardware (for economical or ecological reasons), talking with beloved people who will not change their computing habits, etc.

It turns out I bought a free-software-friendly Wifi adapter (because my internal board requires proprietary firmware) and I do not use a phone nor a proprietary VOIP software (I use Firefox Hello). Anyway, I am not "pure": my BIOS is proprietary (importing one of the Libreboot laptops in Brazil would cost a fortune), I sometimes use proprietary JavaScript (for instance to access my bank account), etc. I am not happy with those compromises and seek solutions (anyone knows a Brazilian bank whose website works with LibreJS?). Who stands for "open source" would not care.

So I insist: there are two movements with different values. I stand for "free software", not for "open source".

Magic Banana

I am a member!

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Joined: 07/24/2010

"No true free software advocate" would *ever* use proprietary software,
therefore, anyone who does *ever* use proprietary software is "no true free
software advocate".

You really want free software advocates to pass a "purity test"! I only wrote
that the free software movement considers that freedoms in our computing
lives is more important than the technical quality of the software. The open
source movement ranks those values in the opposite way.

The free software movement aims to have free software to do anything we want
with computers. We are not there yet and sacrifices (such as using a
technically worse program) are needed, otherwise the proprietary status quo
will prevail. And, like I already wrote, a transition phase is needed as
well: getting rid at once of all the proprietary software on all our machines
is a recipe for failure. Like most users I started using more and more free
software on a proprietary operating system (in my case, back in 2003 or so:
Firefox, OpenOffice now LibreOffice, VLC, Gaim now Pidgin, Emacs, etc.), then
switched to GNU/Linux but was still using proprietary software, then switched
to Trisquel (but was still using one piece proprietary firmware), etc.

The "purity" you are obsessed with is the goal: today, a free software
advocate rarely (never?) is "pure" but she aspires to this purity. Whenever
she uses proprietary software, she is not happy with it. She seeks solutions.
Hopefully, in the near future, it will be easier and easier to only use free
software.

A free software advocate will use proprietary software when other values she
ranks above software freedom requires her to use proprietary software. You
gave several examples: not buying new hardware (be it for economical or
ecological reasons), talking with beloved people who will not change their
computing habits, etc.

It turns out I bought a free-software-friendly Wifi adapter (because my
internal board requires proprietary firmware) and I do not use a phone nor a
proprietary VOIP software (I use Firefox Hello). Anyway, I am not "pure": my
BIOS is proprietary (importing one of the Libreboot laptops in Brazil would
cost a fortune), I sometimes use proprietary JavaScript (for instance to
access my bank account), etc. I am not happy with those compromises and seek
solutions (anyone knows a Brazilian bank whose website works with LibreJS?).
Who stands for "open source" would not care.

strypey
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Joined: 05/14/2015

>> We make technical sacrifices when we decide not to use proprietary
software (which can be technically better) for the sake of having control
over our computing (and, no, that does not mean we are "pure"). "Open source"
communities do not do that.

Magic Banana

I am a member!

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Joined: 07/24/2010

Which movement am I part of? I guess I must be part of both.

You are. What is the problem?

Everyone I know who advocates for libre software is part of both.

Know us. The Trisquel community is a "free software" community:
https://trisquel.info/en/wiki/trisquel-community-guidelines

It values freedoms above the technical quality of the software. We make
technical sacrifices when we decide not to use proprietary software for the
sake of having control over our computing (and, no, that does not mean we are
"pure"). "Open source" communities do not do that.

strypey
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Joined: 05/14/2015

What about me? I advocate for free code software and software freedom. I also
advocate for open source methodology, not just in software, but in everything
(eg Wikipedia, OpenStreetMap, SourceMap, Appropedia, Open Source Ecology,
Thingiverse etc). Which movement am I part of? I guess I must be part of
both. Everyone I know who advocates for libre software is part of both. So
can you really say there are two movements, or one movement with a couple of
puritan factions who like to counterproductively hate on each other (see my
link to Mike Linksvayer's article at the bottom of the thread)?

Magic Banana

I am a member!

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Joined: 07/24/2010

I disagree.

The free software movement is attached to the users' freedoms. Not to the
software. Its license is fundamental though: it must respect the four
essential freedoms of the users. The way the program was developed does not
matter at all.

On the contrary, the open source movement is attached to a development method
(transparency, peer reviewing, etc.), which is supposed to generate software
that is technically better. If not, open source proponents use proprietary
software. The license of the software is not as fundamental to them: the open
source movement criticizes free software whose development is done behind
closed doors.

Like onpon4 wrote above, that basically is the difference between "free
software" and "open source": A difference in the values that are defended,
hence a fundamental difference.

t3g
t3g
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Joined: 05/15/2011

The most important thing to consider is the license. As long as the license
is both Free Software and Open Source approved (GPL, Apache, BSD licenses,
MIT, MPL), they are the same thing and you can appease to both camps. Its
just that the two camps have different ideologies on how we should be
emotionally attached to that software.

Magic Banana

I am a member!

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Joined: 07/24/2010

I disagree.

The free software movement is attached to the users' freedoms. Not to the software. Its license is fundamental though: it must respect the four essential freedoms of the users. The way the program is developed does not matter at all.

On the contrary, the open source movement is attached to a development method (transparency, peer reviewing, etc.), which is supposed to generate software that is technically better. If not, open source proponents use proprietary software. The license of the software is not as fundamental to them: the open source movement criticizes free software whose development is done behind closed doors.

Like onpon4 wrote above, that basically is the difference between "free software" and "open source": a difference in the values that are defended, hence a fundamental difference.

strypey
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Joined: 05/14/2015

This may not be what you meant, but it seems like you're saying that if software is not developed using an "open source" method, "open source proponents use proprietary software". I've never heard of anyone actually doing this for that reason.

Some people will use a proprietary program when there are no free code alternatives, or when those that are available do not work reliably. Some people are most purist, and will accept a less useful computing experience rather than make this compromise. This is a tactical decision, and generally has more to do with how long people have been using libre software, and how well they understand the arguments for it, than whether they use the language of "free software", "open source", or use both interchangeably. The more free code software applications there are, the more reliable and user-friendly they are, the less reason there is for anyone to compromise. Putting our energy into helping this happen is far more fruitful than hassling people about about their choices of words.

lembas
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Joined: 05/13/2010

But how do freely licensed projects ever become better than their proprietary counterparts? Because free software advocates work on them to make it so. Open source users probably will do nothing to aid the said software until it is better than the proprietary alternative.

Using the words interchangeably is a bad idea as they have different meaning.

https://mako.cc/writing/hill-when_free_software_isnt_better.html

strypey
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Joined: 05/14/2015

>> But how do freely licensed projects ever become better than their proprietary counterparts? <<

By having programmers hack on and improve them. Whether they use the term "free software" or "open source" makes no difference, as long as the programs they hack on are free code.

>> Because free software advocates work on them to make it so. Open source users probably will do nothing to aid the said software until it is better than the proprietary alternative. <<

Which words the users who are not programmers describe things with makes no difference whatsoever to whether or not any given piece of free code improves.

>> Using the words interchangeably is a bad idea as they have different meaning. <<

You may be right. It doesn't matter. 99.9% of people use the two terms interchangeably, and I see no reason to expect that to change. For better or for worse, the phrase "open source" has entered the English language, and not just for software. It now refers to any product or service which is collaboratively developed in public, and/or where the source materials/ information are available for auditing and re-use. I'm all for talking about software freedom and why it matters (if only Stallman had named it the Software Freedom Foundation), but if you expect people to stop using the phrase open source, I expect you're going to be disappointed.

onpon4
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Joined: 05/30/2012

> By having programmers hack on and improve them. Whether they use the term "free software" or "open source" makes no difference, as long as the programs they hack on are free code.

That depends on how good the program is. When a program is good (like Emacs back in the 1980s), people will contribute to it and use it on that basis. But when it's not so good, a small, dedicated base of users is needed to prop it up until it becomes better. That's usually, though not always, us.

As an example, consider VoIP. Libre VoIP clients have come a long way, to the point where I should be able to help my grandfather have a video chat with me (I'm doing that right now, through an email exchange). But a few years ago, it was incredibly difficult to use libre VoIP, and most people used Skype. Heck most people continue to use Skype. I seriously doubt that libre VoIP would have come as far as it has without our dedication to it.

onpon4
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Joined: 05/30/2012

> By having programmers hack on and improve them. Whether they use the term
"free software" or "open source" makes no difference, as long as the programs
they hack on are free code.

That depends on how good the program is. When a program is good (like Emacs
back in the 1980s), people will contribute to it and use it on that basis.
But when it's not so good, a small, dedicated base of users is needed to prop
it up until it becomes better. That's usually, though not always, us.

As an example, consider VoIP. Libre VoIP clients have come a long way, to the
point where I should be able to help my grandfather have a video chat with me
(I'm doing that right now, through an email exchange). But a few years ago,
it was incredibly difficult to use libre VoIP, and most people used Skype.
Heck most people continue to use Skype. I seriously doubt that libre VoIP
would have come as far as it has without our dedication to it.

strypey
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Joined: 05/14/2015

>> But how do freely licensed projects ever become better than their
proprietary counterparts? > Because free software advocates work on them to
make it so. Open source users probably will do nothing to aid the said
software until it is better than the proprietary alternative. > Using the
words interchangeably is a bad idea as they have different meaning.

Magic Banana

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This may not be what you meant, but it seems like you're saying that if software is not developed using an "open source" method, "open source proponents use proprietary software".

I was not clear at all. I meant "open source proponents use the technically better software (more features, more user-friendly, more reliable, more secure, ... every user has her own criteria) even if it is proprietary".

Some people are most purist, and will accept a less useful computing experience rather than make this compromise.

First of all, there are features that greatly depend on the development method. E.g., source code auditing is essential to security. Users who want security above all will be open source proponents and only choose open source software that many would say is technically worse than the proprietary equivalent. To them the open source program is technically better because it is more secure, the feature they value most. The sentence I clarified above therefore remains true.

Then, there are those you call "open source purists". I really forgot about. They are rare though. They are people who believe that the open source software will necessarily become technically better because its development method is better. They want to help this technically better software to emerge (by contributing) and they do not want to spend time with proprietary software that is doomed to be technically overtaken by open source software. It is what they believe. Despite the reality I would say...

Anyway, the conclusion remains the same:

  • "open source" is about a development method that is supposed to make technically better software; it is a technical movement.
  • "free software" is about users' freedoms; it is a social/ethical/political movement.

And, of course, there are users who are partly convinced by free software arguments, and partly convinced by open source arguments. It is not like a user is forced to choose a camp and fight the other camp! Proprietary software is the enemy of both "free software" and open source software" proponents.

strypey
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Joined: 05/14/2015

>> It is not like a user is forced to choose a camp and fight the other camp! Proprietary software is the enemy of both "free software" and open source software" proponents. <<

I think this is the key point. As I say in the blog piece I linked below, "free software" and "open source" are two discourses, prioritizing different motivations for essentially the same practice. As you say, there are *not* two competing movements as Stallman claims, although I guess that claim was more accurate in the first few years after the OSI forked off the FSF.

Since we agree we are talking about one movement, I think its untrue to claim, as some continue to do on this forum and others, that people who use the language of "open source" don't care about software freedom, and that people who use the language of "free software" don't care about code auditing, patch submission and other aspects of "open source development" methodology.

jxself
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Joined: 09/13/2010

"Since we agree we are talking about one movement, I think its untrue to claim, as some continue to do on this forum and others, that people who use the language of "open source" don't care about software freedom"

Although there are some people that indeed do not care, because I've met them. They're interested only in the technical aspects. Of making software better and they reject the notion that there is any type of social, ethical, or political issue. They'll use a proprietary program if it's technically better. For them it is purely about technical issues and nothing else. Not surprisingly, they say "open source."

And so, when I read things like "Why Open Source misses the point of Free Software" and it says that it was started by people that rejected the social, ethical, or political issues, I find that very easy to believe based on my personal experiences because I've met such such people and can confirm that they do indeed exist.

So while it can be framed as one single movement, people's reasons for participating it in are very different as I've explained.

But that doesn't mean, as you say, that everyone that says "open source" doesn't care about those issues. There are indeed those that do. Indeed, when I first got started the term "open source" is what I first found. The concept I had in my mind, though, was about software freedom. As I learned more about the issues I stopped saying that and changed to say "free software" instead. I try to get others similarly situated (those that say "open source" but are thinking of freedom in their mind) to say "free software" instead, so as to re-focus on the freedom aspect.

And maybe some day I'll be able to convince those that say "open source" and reject the social, ethical, and political issues to come around and care about those things. Or maybe they're a lost cause. I'm not sure. But if I don't make the attempt (which in my book also includes positioning things just the right way, including the words I use like "free software") then it's a lost cause for sure.

strypey
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Joined: 05/14/2015

>> They'll use a proprietary program if it's technically better. <<

I am a staunch software freedom advocate, which is why I boycotted Ubuntu and moved to Trisquel. But sometimes I use the Android tablet I bought, my fiancee's MacBook, PlayStations, X-Boxes, Windows PCs if I need to use the net at a friend's house and my LiveUSB doesn't work on their PC, not to mention all the proprietary software in feature phones, digital TVs, and all manner of other one-purpose computers. With the exception of Richard Stallman, I do not know of anyone who *never* uses proprietary software. I've certainly never met one (other than him).

Can anyone on this forum honestly claim to *never*, *ever*, use proprietary software? If not, does that one time you used someone else's computer or played a game on their console make you an "open source user" and not a "free software advocate"? Of course not. Erecting politically-correct purity tests around word choice, and tactical software choices, makes people feel judged, and excluded, and makes "free software" people seem like a weird, obsessive cult. This does far more damage than good to the movement for software freedom.

>> As I learned more about the issues I stopped saying that and changed to say "free software" instead. <<

Sure, when I'm talking about software I call it "free code", or "free code software", because I find that phrase is less ambiguous than "free software", which is easily mistaken for "freeware" by the uninitiated. Free code means the *code* is free, even though the software package, or services associated with it, might cost money. When I'm talking about software freedom as a value, I use that phrase, and as I did above, I often describe the movement that produced the "free software" and "open source" discourses as the "software freedom movement" (if only Stallman had chosen the name "Software Freedom Foundation").

>> I try to get others similarly situated (those that say "open source" but are thinking of freedom in their mind) to say "free software" instead, so as to re-focus on the freedom aspect. <<

See, this is where we part ways. I consider it authoritarian to police other people's use of language. George Orwell, in '1984', called that "Newspeak", and it was one of the core tools of control used by "Big Brother", the totalitarian system depicted in the novel. I use the phrases that I think most accurately express my ideas, and I respect other people's freedom to do the same, or indeed to use words in a sloppy, hand-waving fashion, as most people do when they use the phrase "open source".

Moving towards software freedom is a systemic change, a transition, and I find people are more likely to start adopting the use of phrases involving the words "free" and "freedom" if they're not having it rammed down their throat, and told they part of a competing movement if they don't use the words dictated by the language police.

onpon4
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> With the exception of Richard Stallman, I do not know of anyone who *never* uses proprietary software.

Richard Stallman doesn't fit that description, either. He states on his page about his computing that he doesn't worry about what software is running in another person's computer that he is borrowing for doing Web searches or something else brief. What he doesn't do is use proprietary software on his own computer, when he can avoid it (and even then, it should be noted that there is embedded software in things like his keyboard and hard drive which is proprietary; he considers that to be acceptable because it's technically unchangeable).

> Can anyone on this forum honestly claim to *never*, *ever*, use proprietary software?

Most of us probably still have proprietary boot loaders on our systems, and most of us probably still sometimes (or even always) execute proprietary JavaScript code in our Web browsers.

> Sure, when I'm talking about software I call it "free code", or "free code software", because I find that phrase is less ambiguous than "free software", which is easily mistaken for "freeware" by the uninitiated.

I like "libre", personally. I find that people have no trouble understanding this when I explain it as something like, "Libre software is software that gives the user liberty." Easy to understand, and avoids the confusion of free as in price vs. free as in freedom.

> I consider it authoritarian to police other people's use of language.

I agree with this. But also, on a deeper level, I don't think what language people use makes as much of a difference as Orwell suggested in Nineteen Eighty-Four, so I think making a fuss over what language people are using is unproductive.

Consider this real-world example: North Korea openly uses the term "propaganda" to describe its propaganda to North Koreans. And yet, its propaganda still works. The reason is simple: North Koreans haven't been conditioned to view propaganda from the North Korean state as untrustworthy or bad. They've been conditioned the opposite way. So the term "propaganda", when applied to propaganda originating from the North Korean state, has no negative connotation there.

Another real-world example in the opposite direction: how many people do you know who would say that they are OK with "piracy" (referring to unauthorized copying of works)? It may vary, but I'd wager to guess that it's greater than 0. Because sure, the term "piracy" was probably originally a smear term when it was introduced over 400 years ago. But people have no trouble at all understanding that copyright infringement is not the same thing as "attacking a ship".

There are many, many more examples.

Of course, sometimes it's worth it to stop using certain language because it's vague. This is why I say "libre", not "free software" (which may suggest free as in cost) or "open source" (which may suggest only source code availability). I wouldn't consider it productive to tell others that their word choices are vague in most situations, though; I would just ask for a clarification if necessary.

strypey
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Joined: 05/14/2015

This is well and truly off-topic (and I think think this whole thread probably belongs in the Troll Hole), but I'm going to respond because I find the topic interesting.

>> I don't think what language people use makes as much of a difference as Orwell suggested in Nineteen Eighty-Four, <<

I think the reason I disagree with this is summed up nicely by Slavoj Zijek in 'The Desert of the Real':

"We feel free because we lack the very language to articulate our unfreedom."

Your North Korean case is actually a classic example of Newspeak at work. The word "propaganda" has been invested with a new meaning, something like "the official truth as told by the revolutionary government". So, lacking a 'signifier' to represent the 'signified' that we point to by saying "propaganda", something like; "lies told to keep us serving the agenda of those in power", North Koreans now lack an easy way of talking about it. Language may not limit what can be thought about by an individual (although there are plenty of good arguments that it does), but it most certainly limits what can be thought about by a *group* of people through conversation.

If we did not have signifiers like "free software" or "open source", there would be whole categories of things we might be able to think about in the isolation of our own minds, but we wouldn't easily be able to think about them together in dialogue, as we are doing in this thread.

>> so I think making a fuss over what language people are using is unproductive. <<

But despite our dissensus over the power of language, we are in consensus on this. I am utterly opposed to politically-correct language policing, whether it's telling people not to use "chick" as slang for "female", or telling people not to use "open source" as slang for "free software" or whatever. Real progress on women's equality or software freedom comes through free debate, and open discussion. The idea that you can make misogyny or proprietary software disappear by taking certain words or phrases out of circulation is not only petty authoritarianism, it's also magical thinking.

That said, I agree that we are best not to use propaganda language like "intellectual property". I also agree that it's useful to point out why we don't use this language, when other people do. But the point is not to guilt-trip people into not using the phrase, but to use dialogue to convince them that the signifier doesn't actually signify anything. If we don't make that argument convincingly, and respectfully, we might be able to bully people into not using the phrase, but they will simply find another signifier to point what they still believe is a real thing.

To return to your North Korean example, rather than trying to change the established meaning of the word 'propaganda' by proclamation, NK dissidents would be better to encourage their fellows not to use the signifier at all, because the thing it now signifies; "the official truth as told by the revolutionary government" is a nonsense, like "intellectual property" is. For this to expand the range of what can discussed though, rather than narrowing it, they need to find a new word or phrase to signify "lies told to keep us serving the agenda of those in power".

Magic Banana

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If we did not have signifiers like "free software" or "open source", there would be whole categories of things we might be able to think about in the isolation of our own minds, but we wouldn't easily be able to think about them together in dialogue, as we are doing in this thread.

Not only "think" but also "communicate" in a meaningful way. Because "free software" and "open source" stand for different values, we need both words and ought to use the one that is appropriate. If we want to be inclusive and talk about the common values, "FLOSS" is appropriate.

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If we did not have signifiers like "free software" or "open source", there
would be whole categories of things we might be able to think about in the
isolation of our own minds, but we wouldn't easily be able to think about
them together in dialogue, as we are doing in this thread.

Not only "think" but also "communicate" in a meaningful way. Because "free
software" and "open source" stand for different values, we need both words
and ought to use the one that is appropriate. If we want to be inclusive and
talk about the values that are common to them, FLOSS is appropriate.

strypey
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This is well and truly off-topic (and I think think this whole thread
probably belongs in the Troll Hole), but I'm going to respond because I find
the topic interesting.

>> I don't think what language people use makes as much of a difference as
Orwell suggested in Nineteen Eighty-Four,

Magic Banana

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Erecting politically-correct purity tests around word choice

The word choice has nothing to do with "purity" and everything to do with values. "Free software" is about freedom for computer users. "Open source" is about choosing a development method that is supposed to make higher quality software.

The observable difference in "purity" is a consequence of the fundamental difference in values. "Free software" advocates reject "proprietary software" because it is subjugating. The "open source" advocates only want high quality software: when it is proprietary, they use proprietary software.

Sure, when I'm talking about software I call it "free code", or "free code software", because I find that phrase is less ambiguous than "free software", which is easily mistaken for "freeware" by the uninitiated. Free code means the *code* is free, even though the software package, or services associated with it, might cost money.

Your "free code" does not mean "free software" (and it does not mean "open source" either). Selling free software (usually the sole code or the code + the binaries) is OK: https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/selling.html

A free software developer may even distribute binaries for free and the code at a charge. The GNU GPL for instance allows to distribute the code in a "a physical product" (e.g., a CD) against a fee that is "no more than your reasonable cost of physically performing this conveying of source": https://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl.html#section6

I use the phrases that I think most accurately express my ideas

So do I: I am in favor "free software" because computer users deserve the four essential freedoms. I invite anyone who value those freedoms to talk about "free software". If, instead, one talks about "open source", then she will not be understood because "open source" stands for different values.

strypey
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Once again, you are restating your dogmas (first two paragraphs and the last one) as if they are proof of themselves. For reasons I've already explained, these are black/white fallacies that do not describe what happens in practice. The proof is in Onpon's comment that even Stallman uses proprietary software in some situations, and that:

>> Most of us probably still have proprietary boot loaders on our systems, and most of us probably still sometimes (or even always) execute proprietary JavaScript code in our Web browsers. <<

By your black/white fallacy logic, this means that we are all part of the "open source movement", even Stallman, and that there are no "free software advocates" yet, because nobody passes the arbitrary purity test your false binary erects.

>> Selling free software (usually the sole code or the code + the binaries) is OK <<

I know that, and you know that.

But for reasons I don't have to explain to you, most people not already acquainted with Stallman's arguments jump to the conclusion that "free software" means "software that is free of charge". The phrase is used in that way on the web *all the time*. The rules of English syntax, combined with the twin meanings of the word "free", mean that this is one correct interpretation of the meaning of placing the word "software" after the word "free". Despite the fact that this annoys Mr Stallman, you can't change the meaning of commons phrases by proclamation. You could pass a law that said that "free software" is only allowed to mean "free as in freedom", it would change nothing.

"Free code" and "Free code software", on the other hand, are not subject to this ambiguity, nor is "software freedom" (if only Stallman had named it the Software Freedom Foundation!). "Libre software" is also not subject to this ambiguity, but has the problem that this is not a common word in English outside of this specialist context. But sure, talking about "libre as in liberty", or my favourite "libre as in library" are ways to get the meaning across.

As for your reference to the GPL clause about charging for *conveyance* of code, it's a legacy of pre-internet times, and nobody who wasn't already a software freedom specialist would know about it. Therefore, when people hear "free code" it does not make them think of code that is "free of charge", in the same way that hearing "free software" makes them think of software that is "free of charge".

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Once again, you are restating your dogmas (first two paragraphs and the last one) as if they are proof of themselves.

Just visit https://www.fsf.org/about to see what the "free software" movement stands for ("having control over the technology we use in our homes, schools and businesses, where computers work for our individual and communal benefit, not for proprietary software companies or governments who might seek to restrict and monitor us") and http://opensource.org/about to see what the "open source" movement stands for ("a development method for software that harnesses the power of distributed peer review and transparency of process").

This is how the two movements define themselves. There is nothing to "prove".

By your black/white fallacy logic, this means that we are all part of the "open source movement", even Stallman, and that there are no "free software advocates" yet, because nobody passes the arbitrary purity test your false binary erects.

*You* keep on talking about black and white, about purity. *I* do not. Like I wrote earlier "the word choice has nothing to do with "purity" and everything to do with values".

most people not already acquainted with Stallman's arguments jump to the conclusion that "free software" means "software that is free of charge". The phrase is used in that way on the web *all the time*.

By your own logic, you should conclude that there is one single movement that encompass "freeware" (dominant, because "most people" think "free software means software that is free of charge"), "free software" and "open source". Why don't you advocate for "freeware" then? Probably because the values behind "freeware" (i.e., not paying) have little to do with the values of any of the two other movements. That is precisely my point: values matter and different names convey different values.

"Free code" and "Free code software", on the other hand, are not subject to this ambiguity

The definition you gave (i.e., the code is gratis) is not what "free software" is about. You even acknowledged it. How is "free code" not ambiguous then?!

But sure, talking about "libre as in liberty", or my favourite "libre as in library" are ways to get the meaning across.

"Libre as in liberty" gets the meaning across. "Libre as in library" does not. The two words have different etymology:

strypey
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You quote the way the FSF pitches libre software and the way OSI pitches libre software. I could also cite these quotes as evidence of two discourses within one practical movement to develop libre software. This is not evidence of the two movements claim, just another way of restating it as its own proof.

>> The definition you gave (i.e., the code is gratis) is not what "free software" is about. <<

This is not what I said. I said the code is free, but the software may cost money. I thought it was obvious in that context that I meant the code is *libre*, but the fact that you jumped to the conclusion that "free" means "free of charge", even though you know better, proves my point about how confusing the word "free" is in this context. I guess it also disproves my point that *anyone* would understand that "free code" means "libre code", but you are the first person I've come across so far that thought I was talking about "free as in beer code".

>> "Libre as in liberty" gets the meaning across. "Libre as in library" does not. The two words have different etymology:

True, but irrelevant. Most people know what a library is; a place where books and other texts are available as a public commons, so people are free to read, study, share, and quote them. Libre software is about software being available as a public commons, not "intellectual property", so people are free to use, study, share, and modify it. It works.

strypey
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You quote the way the FSF pitches libre software and the way OSI pitches libre software. I could also cite these quotes as evidence of two discourses within one practical movement to develop libre software. This is not evidence of the two movements claim, just another way of restating it as its own proof.

>> The definition you gave (i.e., the code is gratis) is not what "free software" is about. <<

This is not what I said. I said the code is free, but the software may cost money. I thought it was obvious in that context that I meant the code is *libre*, but the fact that you jumped to the conclusion that "free" means "free of charge", even though you know better, proves my point about how confusing the word "free" is in this context. I guess it also disproves my point that *anyone* would understand that "free code" means "libre code", but you are the first person I've come across so far that thought I was talking about "free as in beer code".

>> "Libre as in liberty" gets the meaning across. "Libre as in library" does not. The two words have different etymology:

True, but irrelevant. Most people know what a library is; a place where books and other texts are available as a public commons, so people are free to read, study, share, and quote them. Libre software is about software being available as a public commons, not "intellectual property", so people are free to use, study, share, and modify it. It works.

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I could also cite these quotes as evidence of two discourses within one practical movement to develop libre software. This is not evidence of the two movements claim, just another way of restating it as its own proof.

The difference in the discourse is fundamental. And I still do not know what you want me to prove. You do not prove your values.

This is not what I said.

I quote ( https://trisquel.info/en/forum/ive-probably-misunderstood-difference-between-open-source-and-free-software-movements#comment-87019 ): "Free code means the *code* is free, even though the software package, or services associated with it, might cost money". From that sentence, I understand "the code is gratis but anything built from it might cost money". It may be that my English is not good enough. But I am pretty sure that it is not "obvious in that context that [you] meant the code is *libre*".

Most people know what a library is; a place where books and other texts are available as a public commons, so people are free to read, study, share, and quote them.

Do you know a library that only has books under licenses such as the GNU FDL, the CC-BY or the CC BY-SA, which all let the reader copy the book, with or without modifications, and redistribute it (even for profit)? I do not. That is why I think "libre as library" does not get the meaning across. The freedoms (you listed) that are enjoyed by readers of most books are a rather small subset of the freedoms that free software grants.

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I could also cite these quotes as evidence of two discourses within one
practical movement to develop libre software. This is not evidence of the two
movements claim, just another way of restating it as its own proof.

The difference in the discourse is fundamental. And I still do not know what
you want me to prove. You do not prove your values.

This is not what I said.

I quote (
https://trisquel.info/en/forum/ive-probably-misunderstood-difference-between-open-source-and-free-software-movements#comment-87019
): "Free code means the *code* is free, even though the software package, or
services associated with it, might cost money". From that sentence, I
understand "the code is gratis but anything built from it might cost money".
It may be that my English is not good enough. But I am pretty sure that it is
not "obvious in that context that [you] meant the code is *libre*".

Most people know what a library is; a place where books and other texts are
available as a public commons, so people are free to read, study, share, and
quote them.

Do you know a library that only has books under licenses such as the GNU FDL,
the CC-BY or the CC BY-SA, which all let the reader copy the book, with or
without modifications, and redistribute it (even for profit)? I do not. That
is why I think "libre as library" does not get the meaning across. The
freedoms (you listed) that are enjoyed by readers of most books are a rather
small subset of the freedoms that free software grants.

strypey
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You quote the way the FSF pitches libre software and the way OSI pitches
libre software. I could also cite these quotes as evidence of two discourses
within one practical movement to develop libre software. This is not evidence
of the two movements claim, just another way of restating it as its own
proof.

>> The definition you gave (i.e., the code is gratis) is not what "free
software" is about.

strypey
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You quote the way the FSF pitches libre software and the way OSI pitches
libre software. I could also cite these quotes as evidence of two discourses
within one practical movement to develop libre software. This is not evidence
of the two movements claim, just another way of restating it as its own
proof.

>> The definition you gave (i.e., the code is gratis) is not what "free
software" is about.

Magic Banana

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By your black/white fallacy logic, this means that we are all part of the
"open source movement", even Stallman, and that there are no "free software
advocates" yet, because nobody passes the arbitrary purity test your false
binary erects.

*You* keep on talking about black and white, about purity. *I* do not. Like I
wrote earlier "the word choice has nothing to do with "purity" and everything
to do with values".

most people not already acquainted with Stallman's arguments jump to the
conclusion that "free software" means "software that is free of charge". The
phrase is used in that way on the web *all the time*.

By your own logic, you should conclude that there is one single movement that
encompass "freeware" (dominant, because "most people" think "free software
means software that is free of charge"), "free software" and "open source".
Why don't you advocate for "freeware" then? Probably because the values
behind "freeware" (i.e., not paying) have little to do with the values of any
of the two other movements. That is precisely my point: values matter and
different names convey different values.

"Free code" and "Free code software", on the other hand, are not subject to
this ambiguity

The definition you gave (i.e., the code is gratis) is not what "free
software" is about. You even acknowledged it. How is "free code" not
ambiguous then?!

But sure, talking about "libre as in liberty", or my favourite "libre as in
library" are ways to get the meaning across.

"Libre as in liberty" gets the meaning across. "Libre as in library" does
not. The two words have different etymology:

"freedom, liberty, free will":
http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=liberty
"collection of books": http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=library

strypey
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Once again, you are restating your dogmas (first two paragraphs and the last
one) as if they are proof of themselves. For reasons I've already explained,
these are black/white fallacies that do not describe what happens in
practice.

>> Selling free software (usually the sole code or the code + the binaries)
is OK

onpon4
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> With the exception of Richard Stallman, I do not know of anyone who *never*
uses proprietary software.

Richard Stallman doesn't fit that description, either. He states on his page
about his computing that he doesn't worry about what software is running in
another person's computer that he is borrowing for doing Web searches or
something else brief. What he doesn't do is use proprietary software on his
own computer, when he can avoid it (and even then, it should be noted that
there is embedded software in things like his keyboard and hard drive which
is proprietary; he considers that to be acceptable because it's technically
unchangeable).

> Can anyone on this forum honestly claim to *never*, *ever*, use proprietary
software?

Most of us probably still have proprietary boot loaders on our systems, and
most of us probably still sometimes (or even always) execute proprietary
JavaScript code in our Web browsers.

> Sure, when I'm talking about software I call it "free code", or "free code
software", because I find that phrase is less ambiguous than "free software",
which is easily mistaken for "freeware" by the uninitiated.

I like "libre", personally. I find that people have no trouble understanding
this when I explain it as something like, "Libre software is software that
gives the user liberty." Easy to understand, and avoids the confusion of free
as in price vs. free as in freedom.

> I consider it authoritarian to police other people's use of language.

I agree with this. But also, on a deeper level, I don't think what language
people use makes as much of a difference as Orwell suggested in Nineteen
Eighty-Four, so I think making a fuss over what language people are using is
unproductive.

Consider this real-world example: North Korea openly uses the term
"propaganda" to describe its propaganda to North Koreans. And yet, its
propaganda still works. The reason is simple: North Koreans haven't been
conditioned to view propaganda from the North Korean state as untrustworthy
or bad. They've been conditioned the opposite way. So the term "propaganda",
when applied to propaganda originating from the North Korean state, has no
negative connotation there.

Another real-world example in the opposite direction: how many people do you
know who would say that they are OK with "piracy" (referring to unauthorized
copying of works)? It may vary, but I'd wager to guess that it's greater than
0. Because sure, the term "piracy" was probably originally a smear term when
it was introduced over 400 years ago. But people have no trouble at all
understanding that copyright infringement is not the same thing as "attacking
a ship".

There are many, many more examples.

Of course, sometimes it's worth it to stop using certain language because
it's vague. This is why I say "libre", not "free software" (which may suggest
free as in cost) or "open source" (which may suggest only source code
availability). I wouldn't consider it productive to tell others that their
word choices are vague in most situations, though; I would just ask for a
clarification if necessary.

Magic Banana

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Erecting politically-correct purity tests around word choice

The word choice has nothing to do with "purity" and everything to do with
values. "Free software" is about freedom for computer users. "Open source" is
about choosing a development method that is supposed to make higher quality
software.

The observable difference in "purity" is a consequence of the fundamental
difference in values. "Free software" advocates reject "proprietary software"
because it is subjugating. The "open source" advocates only want high quality
software: when it is proprietary, they use proprietary software.

Sure, when I'm talking about software I call it "free code", or "free code
software", because I find that phrase is less ambiguous than "free software",
which is easily mistaken for "freeware" by the uninitiated. Free code means
the *code* is free, even though the software package, or services associated
with it, might cost money.

Your "free code" does not mean "free software" (and it does not mean "open
source" either). Selling free software (usually the sole code or the code +
the binaries) is OK: https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/selling.html

A free software developer may even distribute binaries for free and the code
at a charge. The GNU GPL for instance allows to distribute the code in a "a
physical product" (e.g., a CD) against a fee that is "no more than your
reasonable cost of physically performing this conveying of source":
https://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl.html#section6

I use the phrases that I think most accurately express my ideas

So do I: I am in favor "free software" because computer users deserve the
four essential freedoms. I invite anyone who value those freedoms to talk
about "free software". If, instead, one talks about "open source", then she
will not be understood because "open source" stands for different values.

strypey
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>> They'll use a proprietary program if it's technically better.

Magic Banana

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"free software" and "open source" are two discourses, prioritizing different motivations for essentially the same practice.

The software is the same (minus software under a few unpopular licenses). The practices are not. Most users of "open source" (but the rare purists I mentioned in my last post and are wrong in their believes, in my humble opinion) will use proprietary software when it is technically better. They will even recommend that software because it is technically better. The users of "free software" reject proprietary software because it does not respect their freedoms. Even when there is no alternative. To them, freedom is more important than any technical convenience.

Since we agree we are talking about one movement

We do not! The practices are different (see above). More importantly, the values are different. I believe open source proponents are partially right when they claim that their beloved development method results in technically better software. But that is secondary to me. I use and write free software because it is the only way that is ethically, socially and politically acceptable when it comes to software.

Sure, there are many people who are partially convinced by arguments from both movements. But the two fundamentally different movements exist anyway.

I think its untrue to claim, as some continue to do on this forum and others, that people who use the language of "open source" don't care about software freedom, and that people who use the language of "free software" don't care about code auditing, patch submission and other aspects of "open source development" methodology.

Names are important. "Free software" is about freedom. It is in the name. "Open source" is about the source code being available, the corner stone of the development methodology. Because they are two different movements, it is important to distinguish them with two different names. I am in favor of free software. I am not in favor of open source (what does not mean I consider "open source" as an enemy; proprietary software is the enemy).

See https://www.gnu.org/gnu/why-gnu-linux.html for a similar argument on calling the operating system "GNU/Linux" and not "Linux".