[Fsf-friends] FreeBSD and Free Software

Ramanraj K ramanraj@md4.vsnl.net.in
Fri Feb 27 20:20:14 IST 2004

  Rajkumar S wrote:

> Rishi Gangoly wrote:
>> "Free Software ... Want to know more" or something like that... With 
>> the 3 logos of BSD, GNU & Linux.
> Surprised that RMS wears a BSD badge. BSD people hardly agree with FSF 
> on various issues! IIRC they do not call themselves free software. 
> It's like bsd people putting a badge of gnu with "Open Source  Want to 
> know more"

What is wrong in wearing a BSD badge?  I always thought that BSD people 
do agree with FSF on many fundamental issues, and it is only that they 
think they give more freedom under the FreeBSD License than the GNU GPL. 
 For example, at the FreeBSD.org FAQ, one finds the following:

"1.2. What is the goal of the FreeBSD Project?
The goal of the FreeBSD Project is to provide software that may be used 
for any purpose and without strings attached. Many of us have a 
significant investment in the code (and project) and would certainly not 
mind a little financial compensation now and then, but we definitely do 
not insist on it. We believe that our first and foremost ``mission'' is 
to provide code to any and all comers, and for whatever purpose, so that 
the code gets the widest possible use and provides the widest possible 
benefit. This is, we believe, one of the most fundamental goals of Free 
Software and one that we enthusiastically support.

That code in our source tree which falls under the GNU General Public 
License (GPL) or GNU Library General Public License (LGPL) comes with 
slightly more strings attached, though at least on the side of enforced 
access rather than the usual opposite. Due to the additional 
complexities that can evolve in the commercial use of GPL software, we 
do, however, endeavor to replace such software with submissions under 
the more relaxed FreeBSD license whenever possible."

There, you can see that they enthusiastically support the fundamental 
goals of Free Software.

The "slightly more strings attached" part that obviously refers to the 
copyleft part of the GPL, which is well justified and defended in the 
GNU Philosophy section.  One of the chief features of free software, is 
the "right to fork", and the copyleft clause ensures that the "right to 
fork" is meaningful in the present context.

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