Tim Dobson | 6 Apr 20:05 2008

Re: Wikipedia to merge Free Software and Open Source

Philip Hunt wrote:
> On 06/04/2008, Noah Slater <nslater <at> bytesexual.org> wrote:
>>  The Wikitrolls and OSI appologists on Wikipedia are planning to merge the
>>  articles on Free Software and Open Source to avoid "nitpicking and
>>  agenda-advancing" despite the obvious absurdity of this.
> 
> It isn't obvious to me that this is absurd.

Open Source and Free Software are separate things.

Noah isn't saying there is any problems with Open Source, or people who 
support Open Source or anything like that.

What he is stating, perhaps a bit cryptically, is that people who 
perhaps spend a little too much time on Wikipedia are trying to merge 
the articles on "Open Source Software" and "Free Software".

I think he believes here is that Open Source Software and Free Software 
have sufficiently different goals and ideals to merit different 
Wikipedia articles as opposed to a combined article.

Therefore he is encouraging people to show their support on the said 
Wikipedia discussion page, if they believe the same as him.

It may even be conceived that he could be reaching out to people from 
the Open Source Software movement, who don't want their Wikipedia entry 
diluted with talk about ethics.

I believe this is the message that Noah is trying to relay, in the 
simplest terms possible.
(Continue reading)

Noah Slater | 6 Apr 22:12 2008

Re: Wikipedia to merge Free Software and Open Source

On Sun, Apr 06, 2008 at 07:05:43PM +0100, Tim Dobson wrote:
> What he is stating, perhaps a bit cryptically, is that people who
> perhaps spend a little too much time on Wikipedia are trying to merge
> the articles on "Open Source Software" and "Free Software".

Yes. Sorry for the assumed context.

I think Free Software is great for ethical reasons.

I think Open Source is great for pragmatic reasons.

I think that conflating these two ideas is damaging to both movements and would
dilute the potent message each has to offer. I think, and I have reasonable
cause, that certain active members of the Wikipedia community would like to see
a situation where certain aspects of OUR community are diluted.

If you think this is wrong, then you should take action. All it needs is a
sentence on that talk page outlining why you think that the two socio-political
movements should remain separated in concept.

Thanks Dobo. ;)

--

-- 
Noah Slater <http://bytesexual.org/>
Picon

Re: Wikipedia to merge Free Software and Open Source

As someone who has (mainly) diligently lurked on this list for years,
I feel the need to speak out on this issue.

>>I think he believes here is that Open Source Software and Free
Software have sufficiently different goals and ideals to merit
different Wikipedia articles as opposed to a combined article.<<

I don't think anyone would deny that the *movements* are sufficiently
different to merit separate articles. However, open-source and free
software themselves are collections of bits that lack different goals
or ideals due to our movements having unfortunately not yet given
birth to true artificial intelligence.

I called for these articles to be merged back in 2004 precisely
because they both cover almost exactly the same (encyclopedic) concept
(and arguably exactly the same one in general usage--as defined by a
dictionary rather than the FSF, OSI or DFSG), and Wikipedia is WP:NOT
a dictionary.  Unfortunately, as I see it, merger proposals have been
shouted down, generally without reasoned policy-based argument, by the
large number of extremist members of these two movements that happen
to be Wikipedia editors with more moderate editors deciding to get on
with more constructive editing discussions.

As an admitted long-term member and active supporter of the FSF (and
their point of view), I really don't think it is wise or necessary for
this to be made into a wider debate within our movements among those
who may not be so familiar with editing Wikipedia or it's policies on
mergers.

Yours,
(Continue reading)

Philip Hunt | 7 Apr 23:34 2008

Re: Wikipedia to merge Free Software and Open Source

On 06/04/2008, Tim Dobson <personalwebsite <at> army.com> wrote:
> Philip Hunt wrote:
>
> > On 06/04/2008, Noah Slater <nslater <at> bytesexual.org> wrote:
> >
> > >  The Wikitrolls and OSI appologists on Wikipedia are planning to merge
> > > the
> > >  articles on Free Software and Open Source to avoid "nitpicking and
> > >  agenda-advancing" despite the obvious absurdity of this.
> > >
> >
> > It isn't obvious to me that this is absurd.
>
>  Open Source and Free Software are separate things.

I write software and license it under the GPL. Is this "Open Source"
or "Free Software"? The answer, of course, is that it is both.

> I think he believes here is that Open Source Software and Free Software
> have sufficiently different goals and ideals to merit different Wikipedia
> articles as opposed to a combined article.

Software doesn't have "goals" (unless it is some advanced AI project).
People who write software do of course have goals.

As I've mentioned, I write software and license it under the GPL. Can
someone tell me whether that makes me part of the "Free Software
Movement", the "Open Source Software Movement", both, or neither?

--

-- 
(Continue reading)

Dave Crossland | 7 Apr 23:45 2008

Re: Wikipedia to merge Free Software and Open Source

On 07/04/2008, Philip Hunt <cabalamat <at> googlemail.com> wrote:
>
>  As I've mentioned, I write software and license it under the GPL. Can
>  someone tell me whether that makes me part of the "Free Software
>  Movement", the "Open Source Software Movement", both, or neither?

IMO:

It makes you a part of the software freedom movement, because the GPL
denies proprietary software developers the ability to use your
software, and abolishing proprietary software by making it obsolete is
the long range goal of this movement. Choosing the GPL helps move
towards that and is inline with that movement.

You could choose a free software license that is less or non copyleft,
which would benefit both free software and open source developers.
This is inline with the open source movement, which has a long range
goal of improving the quality of software.

Of course, there are plenty of open source developers who think that
the GPL is the best way to get high quality software, but don't mind
having plenty of crappy proprietary software installed. And there are
ardent free software developers who do not use the GPL.

But IMO, a developer's choice of license does communicate something
about their position in the two movements.

--

-- 
Regards,
Dave
(Continue reading)

Ciaran O'Riordan | 8 Apr 01:05 2008
Picon

Re: Wikipedia to merge Free Software and Open Source


"Philip Hunt" <cabalamat <at> googlemail.com> writes:
> I write software and license it under the GPL. Is this "Open Source"
> or "Free Software"? The answer, of course, is that it is both.

They're practically the same thing alright, and there are ten or so other
terms too, but in a historical sense I'd say "free software" is a concept
and "open-source software" is just a name (or, at most, it's a marketing
campaign).

--

-- 
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http://ciaran.compsoc.com/ _________ \     Join FSFE's Fellowship:
http://fsfe.org/fellows/ciaran/weblog \      http://www.fsfe.org
MJ Ray | 8 Apr 15:20 2008

Re: Wikipedia to merge Free Software and Open Source

"Philip Hunt" <cabalamat <at> googlemail.com> wrote:
> On 06/04/2008, Tim Dobson <personalwebsite <at> army.com> wrote:
> > I think he believes here is that Open Source Software and Free Software
> > have sufficiently different goals and ideals to merit different Wikipedia
> > articles as opposed to a combined article.
>
> Software doesn't have "goals" (unless it is some advanced AI project).
> People who write software do of course have goals.

I agree with that.  I don't much are whether Wikipedia merges Open
Source Software and Free Software articles: at worst, it won't be the
biggest mistake in Wikipedia, like the times it fails at geography. If
someone was proposing to merge the FSF article with one about the
failed Open Source Initiative then I might bother to complain.
(Wikipedia's current article on OSI conspicuously fails to mention
what the initiative *was* and conflates the original OSI with the OSI
zombie corporation which is still running.) 

> As I've mentioned, I write software and license it under the GPL. Can
> someone tell me whether that makes me part of the "Free Software
> Movement", the "Open Source Software Movement", both, or neither?

Neither necessarily.  I feel it depends what organisation(s) you
support with your deeds.

Regards,
--

-- 
MJ Ray (slef)
Webmaster for hire, statistician and online shop builder for a small
worker cooperative http://www.ttllp.co.uk/ http://mjr.towers.org.uk/
(Continue reading)

Dave Crossland | 8 Apr 17:13 2008

Re: Wikipedia to merge Free Software and Open Source

On 08/04/2008, MJ Ray <mjr <at> phonecoop.coop> wrote:
>
>  (Wikipedia's current article on OSI conspicuously fails to mention
>  what the initiative *was* and conflates the original OSI with the OSI
>  zombie corporation which is still running.)

I hope you'll update the OSI article with information about this someday :-)

--

-- 
Regards,
Dave
MJ Ray | 8 Apr 18:21 2008

Re: Wikipedia to merge Free Software and Open Source

"Dave Crossland" <dave <at> lab6.com> wrote:
> On 08/04/2008, MJ Ray <mjr <at> phonecoop.coop> wrote:
> >  (Wikipedia's current article on OSI conspicuously fails to mention
> >  what the initiative *was* and conflates the original OSI with the OSI
> >  zombie corporation which is still running.)
>
> I hope you'll update the OSI article with information about this someday :-)

Yeah, because that would be 30 minutes work to write up the links
which are available for anyone, but it would last all of about 30
seconds before being reverted by the usual suspect.

The Initiative was to get a US trademark on a term less generic than
"free software" but the "Open Source" trademark is DEAD (search at
uspto.gov), so I say it failed.  But its body keeps twitching.

http://web.archive.org/web/*/http://www.opensource.org/
(when its servers come back online) is probably as good a source
as anything.  See also
http://www.spi-inc.org/corporate/resolutions/2001-04-26.nl
http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/open-source-misses-the-point.html
although they're not exactly unbiased either.

Regards,
--

-- 
MJ Ray (slef)
Webmaster for hire, statistician and online shop builder for a small
worker cooperative http://www.ttllp.co.uk/ http://mjr.towers.org.uk/
(Notice http://mjr.towers.org.uk/email.html) tel:+44-844-4437-237
(Continue reading)

Noah Slater | 8 Apr 19:02 2008
Picon

Re: Wikipedia to merge Free Software and Open Source

On Mon, Apr 07, 2008 at 10:34:54PM +0100, Philip Hunt wrote:
> I write software and license it under the GPL. Is this "Open Source"
> or "Free Software"? The answer, of course, is that it is both.

Not always:

  * Free Software is about freedom.

  * Open Source is about development pragmatism.

You could develop some software in total secrecy and occasionally publish the
code with a GPL licence. This would be Free Software but to call it Open Source
would be a mistake because it does not follow an open development methodology.

By focusing on the licencing you are missing the bigger picture.

--

-- 
Noah Slater - The GNU Project <http://www.gnu.org/>
Alex Hudson | 8 Apr 19:27 2008

Re: Wikipedia to merge Free Software and Open Source

Noah Slater wrote:
> You could develop some software in total secrecy and occasionally publish the
> code with a GPL licence. This would be Free Software but to call it Open Source
> would be a mistake because it does not follow an open development methodology.
>   

Netscape was "open source" the moment they released the code; that was 
like the first the big open source win.

The development methodology is an adjunct. I agree that the open source 
attitude, if there is one, is that "it's better to develop code in large 
groups", and to do that you need a suitable licensing environment. But 
whether or not something is "open source" is nothing to do with how it's 
developed.

Cheers,

Alex.
Ian Lynch | 8 Apr 20:56 2008

Re: Wikipedia to merge Free Software and Open Source


On Tue, 2008-04-08 at 18:27 +0100, Alex Hudson wrote:
> Noah Slater wrote:
> > You could develop some software in total secrecy and occasionally publish the
> > code with a GPL licence. This would be Free Software but to call it Open Source
> > would be a mistake because it does not follow an open development methodology.
> >   
> 
> Netscape was "open source" the moment they released the code; that was 
> like the first the big open source win.
> 
> The development methodology is an adjunct. I agree that the open source 
> attitude, if there is one, is that "it's better to develop code in large 
> groups", and to do that you need a suitable licensing environment. But 
> whether or not something is "open source" is nothing to do with how it's 
> developed.

And you could have open source code but a restrictive license for using
it.

Ian
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Chris Croughton | 8 Apr 22:55 2008
Picon

Re: Wikipedia to merge Free Software and Open Source

On Tue, Apr 08, 2008 at 07:56:34PM +0100, Ian Lynch wrote:

> On Tue, 2008-04-08 at 18:27 +0100, Alex Hudson wrote:
> > Noah Slater wrote:
> > > You could develop some software in total secrecy and occasionally publish the
> > > code with a GPL licence. This would be Free Software but to call it Open Source
> > > would be a mistake because it does not follow an open development methodology.
> > 
> > Netscape was "open source" the moment they released the code; that was 
> > like the first the big open source win.
> > 
> > The development methodology is an adjunct. I agree that the open source 
> > attitude, if there is one, is that "it's better to develop code in large 
> > groups", and to do that you need a suitable licensing environment. But 
> > whether or not something is "open source" is nothing to do with how it's 
> > developed.
> 
> And you could have open source code but a restrictive license for using
> it.

As far as I see it Free Software is a subset of Open Source.  It can't
be free (in the sense of freedom) unless the source is open, but it is
possible for the source to be open but not free (because of restrictive
licences).

I agree with Alex that the development methodologies used are orthogonal
to the distinction.  There are open source projects where the
development is done "in secret" and releases occur when the developer(s)
think it's ready (most of mine are like that), and free software
projects where everything is open and anyone can make changes at any
(Continue reading)

Philip Hands | 9 Apr 00:32 2008

Re: Wikipedia to merge Free Software and Open Source

On Tue, Apr 08, 2008 at 09:55:56PM +0100, Chris Croughton wrote:
> On Tue, Apr 08, 2008 at 07:56:34PM +0100, Ian Lynch wrote:
> 
> > On Tue, 2008-04-08 at 18:27 +0100, Alex Hudson wrote:
> > > Noah Slater wrote:
> > > > You could develop some software in total secrecy and occasionally publish the
> > > > code with a GPL licence. This would be Free Software but to call it Open Source
> > > > would be a mistake because it does not follow an open development methodology.
> > > 
> > > Netscape was "open source" the moment they released the code; that was 
> > > like the first the big open source win.
> > > 
> > > The development methodology is an adjunct. I agree that the open source 
> > > attitude, if there is one, is that "it's better to develop code in large 
> > > groups", and to do that you need a suitable licensing environment. But 
> > > whether or not something is "open source" is nothing to do with how it's 
> > > developed.
> > 
> > And you could have open source code but a restrictive license for using
> > it.
> 
> As far as I see it Free Software is a subset of Open Source.  It can't
> be free (in the sense of freedom) unless the source is open, but it is
> possible for the source to be open but not free (because of restrictive
> licences).

Are we talking about "Open Source" as in the "Open Source Definition"
or are we talking about the dollop of blue goo I found under my kitchen
sink, which may have been HP Sauce once, but I've decided to name
"Open Sauce"?
(Continue reading)

MJ Ray | 9 Apr 11:27 2008

Re: Wikipedia to merge Free Software and Open Source

phil <at> hands.com (Philip Hands) wrote:
> On Tue, Apr 08, 2008 at 09:55:56PM +0100, Chris Croughton wrote:
> > On Tue, Apr 08, 2008 at 07:56:34PM +0100, Ian Lynch wrote:
> > > On Tue, 2008-04-08 at 18:27 +0100, Alex Hudson wrote: [...]
> > > > whether or not something is "open source" is nothing to do with how it's 
> > > > developed.
> > > And you could have open source code but a restrictive license for using
> > > it.
> > 
> > As far as I see it Free Software is a subset of Open Source.  It can't
> > be free (in the sense of freedom) unless the source is open, but [...]
>
> Are we talking about "Open Source" as in the "Open Source Definition"
> or are we talking about the dollop of blue goo I found under my kitchen
> sink, which may have been HP Sauce once, but I've decided to name
> "Open Sauce"?

Probably.  Confusing, isn't it?
Why "Open Source" software is too ambiguous
http://mjr.towers.org.uk/writing/ambigopen.html

Regards,
--

-- 
MJ Ray (slef)
Webmaster for hire, statistician and online shop builder for a small
worker cooperative http://www.ttllp.co.uk/ http://mjr.towers.org.uk/
(Notice http://mjr.towers.org.uk/email.html) tel:+44-844-4437-237
Simon Ward | 9 Apr 00:36 2008
Picon

Re: Wikipedia to merge Free Software and Open Source

On Tue, Apr 08, 2008 at 09:55:56PM +0100, Chris Croughton wrote:
> As far as I see it Free Software is a subset of Open Source.  It can't
> be free (in the sense of freedom) unless the source is open, but it is
> possible for the source to be open but not free (because of restrictive
> licences).

Free software is a subset of software that has source code available
(source available), as that is a pre‐requisite for the software being
free according to the free software definition.  However, “open source”
is merely a marketing term for free software.  The open source
definition is mostly derived from the free software definition.

The arguments for free software and open source software being 99% the
same thing are correct.  “Free and open source software”, the suggested
title for the merged Wikipedia article is just incorrect.  If they are
the same thing that title is redundant, why are both being mentioned in
the main article anyway?  It should be an article about “free software”,
and should discuss “open source software” as an especially common
alternative.  Alternative namings should be discussed in more detail in
the article on alternative names for free software if it is large enough
to warrant a separate article.

Simon
--

-- 
A complex system that works is invariably found to have evolved from a
simple system that works.
    — John Gaule
_______________________________________________
(Continue reading)

Philip Hands | 9 Apr 10:01 2008

Re: Wikipedia to merge Free Software and Open Source

On Tue, Apr 08, 2008 at 11:36:01PM +0100, Simon Ward wrote:
> On Tue, Apr 08, 2008 at 09:55:56PM +0100, Chris Croughton wrote:
> > As far as I see it Free Software is a subset of Open Source.  It can't
> > be free (in the sense of freedom) unless the source is open, but it is
> > possible for the source to be open but not free (because of restrictive
> > licences).
> 
> Free software is a subset of software that has source code available
> (source available), as that is a pre???requisite for the software being
> free according to the free software definition.  However, ???open source???
> is merely a marketing term for free software.  The open source
> definition is mostly derived from the free software definition.

Slight Nit to pick here.

The Open Source Definition is very directly derived from the Debian Free
Software Guidelines (it's pretty much the same document with the word
Debian removed in several places).

The Debian Free Software Guidelines are a set of rules for measuring
licensing terms to see if they are free enough.  They were always supposed
to come up with the same set of software as they FSF's Four Freedoms,
but take a lot less depth of understanding to apply.

Of course, you then have FSF interpreting their rules, Debian interpreting
their Guidelines (with a pinch of salt, since some license might strictly
speaking be free, but such a pain in the arse to comply with that the
FTP-masters reject them on practical grounds) and the OSI treating
those guidelines as though they were the US constitution, and getting
all lawyerly about it.
(Continue reading)

MJ Ray | 9 Apr 18:35 2008

Re: Wikipedia to merge Free Software and Open Source

phil <at> hands.com (Philip Hands) wrote: [...]
> That's where the differences come from, the interpretation by individuals,
> but it's all the same thing really, and the corner cases are really not
> worth spending too much time on.  Personally, if the FSF, Debian, and
> OSI[1] don't like it, I avoid using it, and would certainly
> not pass it on to my customers.
>
> Cheers, Phil.
>
> [1] Actually, I mostly ignore the OSI, but if you can point to something
> that they don't like that FSF and Debian do like, then I'll consider
> not using it.

Am I wrong in thinking that the OSI corporation uniquely works by
having a lawyer advocate a licence to their board and the rest of the
world can go feel[*] itself as far as OSI approval is concerned?

The failed Open Source Initative has approved many many many more
licences than FSF.  They have been really slow to spot just how much
of a pain in the bum licence proliferation is for hackers and act on
it, but at least they have now.

Automatic comparison of
http://www.asheesh.org/note/software/osi-vs-fsf.html with
http://www.uk.debian.org/legal/licenses/ and
http://www.gnu.org/licenses/license-list.html and a little human
filtering yielded the following three OSI-approved oddities:-

Artistic License 1.0 (FSF list it as non-free because "it is too vague")

(Continue reading)

Dave Crossland | 10 Apr 01:52 2008

Re: Wikipedia to merge Free Software and Open Source

On 09/04/2008, MJ Ray <mjr <at> phonecoop.coop> wrote:
>
>  Artistic License 1.0 (FSF list it as non-free because "it is too vague")

It caused problems for some railway control program, iirc.

http://www.dclug.org.uk/archive/2007/08/msg00599.html has some stuff.

--

-- 
Regards,
Dave

Gmane