[Fsf-friends] FreeBSD and Free Software

Mahesh T. Pai paivakil@vsnl.net
Fri Feb 27 21:08:22 IST 2004

Ramanraj K said on Fri, Feb 27, 2004 at 08:20:14PM +0530,:

I hate  to butt  into such  a brilliant analysis;  but this  one needs
some amplification. 

 > 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.

Right to fork is a very important feature of free software, and `right
to fork' is meaningful; and copyleft ensures it remains meaningful.

The  GNU GPL  and other  strong  copyleft licenses  ensure that  forks
remain `free'. But the BSD  license does not.  People vouching for the
BSD license  do not want to  ensure that forks remain  free.  For this
part of the  free software community, `freedom' means  freedom to make
non free forks  of the software, and keep the  users' dependent on the
person  who made  the non-free  forks.  This approach  is solely  from
programmer's viewpoint.

True GNUheads  know that  programmers too are  users of  software; and
even a  small compromise on  principles will result in  the proverbial
`Arab and  the camel'  scenario.  They know  that merely  `opening the
source' will not  protect the users' freedom. While  proponents of the
open source  and/or BSD-ish  philosophies have so  many things  to say
about FSF, the FSF has (AFAIK - I am not officially a part of the FSF,
except as a regular on the lists) nothing against these people.

We include people  of all hues and colours,  encourage them to realise
the  dangers they  are facing,  try to  go along  with  them, correct,
educate and guide them when  necessary. Exclusion is not on the agenda
of the true GNUhead.

  Mahesh T. Pai, LL.M.,                   
  'NANDINI', S. R. M. Road,               
  Ernakulam, Cochin-682018,               
  Kerala, India.                          

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