Richard Stallman: Why Open Source Misses the Point of Free Software

Its humbling to be reminded of knowing much less then the little I though I knew about this.

Seems pretty clear that SAFE is more on the side of Free as in “Freedom of Speech not Free Beer” than on the Open Source side. Freedom, Safety, Privacy.

To keep it brief, Stallman is full of crap.

When we call software “free,” we mean that it respects the users’ essential freedoms: the freedom to run it, to study and change it, and to redistribute copies with or without changes. This is a matter of freedom, not price, so think of “free speech,” not “free beer.”

At the very beginning, he deliberately omits all the obligations and restrictions that the use of his “free” software entails. It’s not hard to imagine where it goes from there.

Example of a truly free license:

Oh, by the way, I think he wrote that in the 90’s when some people still thought highly of him.
So if you post Stallmans propaganda BS from the 90’s, feel free to substantiate it with some more recent info, such as:

  • MIT: free s/w
  • Apache: free s/w
  • BSD: free s/w

It’s hilarious how GPLv2 wasn’t doing too bad (although it too would have lost market share), but that wasn’t enough for Stallmanists, so they introduced GPLv3. :smiley:

Image source:

Except that SAFE is GPL. Might even be GPLv3. Since SAFE is GPL it looks like Stallman isn’t full of shit. The MIT version sounds like shit as I remember if from that OB post.

I know SAFE is GPL, it’s a valid license and people and organizations are free to choose it just like any other. Like with proprietary software, users can choose whether they want to accept it or not (or, if you listen to those who claim that “information wants to be free” and such, they can accept to use the s/w and ignore the license).

What Stallman does, though, is attack other licenses as inferior, while hiding the downsides of obligations that may arise from the use of GPL. That’s completely different from merely releasing your work under the GPL license.

Just yesterday I made a contribution to a GPLv3 project. The contribution was small and trivial (cosmetic changes), but if I had a choice I certainly would use another license.

The MIT License is actually GPL compatible, so you can accept it and use it with GPL s/w (whereas you may find restrictions about using GPL s/w with proprietary s/w). From Wikipedia:

It is a permissive free software license, meaning that it permits reuse within proprietary software provided all copies of the licensed software include a copy of the MIT License terms and the copyright notice. Such proprietary software retains its proprietary nature even though it incorporates software under the MIT License. The license is also GPL-compatible, meaning that the GPL permits combination and redistribution with software that uses the MIT License.

Thank you. Yep SAFE is GPLv3.