"If a collection of software contains (or suggests installation of) some non-free program, I do not recommend it. [...] I therefore exercise my freedom of speech by not including OpenBSD in the list of systems that I recommend to the public."

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unixlust's picture
Created by unixlust 6 years 51 weeks ago – Made popular 6 years 51 weeks ago
Category: Philosophy   Tags:
aboutblank's picture


6 years 51 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago


He fails to understand RMS position

Things like this usually stem from the misunderstanding about RMS's definition of "Free Software" and his moral repugnance towards user subjugating (non-free) software.

1) I don't see how RMS "attacked OpenBSD". RMS said that he won't recommend any system that recommends the usage of non-free software. He claims that the OpenBSD ports system recommends the usage of non-free software. I do not see how 'not recommending the OpenBSD system because it recommends non-free software' is equal to "attacking the OpenBSD project"

2) The licensing terms of LAME are within RMS's definition of free software; (theoretically) any user has the right to use, share and tinker with LAME software. However, the logic included in LAME is burdened by patent law within some jurisdictions. The software IS Free Software *for anyone in a jurisdiction that isn't covered by MP3 patents*.

> If Stallman really cared about freedom, he would have not specially designed Emacs to enable it to compile on non-free operating systems, but he does it. He even distributes Emacs in binary format on the Free Software Foundation's FTP server.

3) I'm not sure he specifically designed Emacs to compile on any non-free OS. It would be hypocritical to RMS if he actively prevented any user from making the changes required to allow the user to compile Emacs on non-free operating systems. Also, the FSF shares the source code to all the programs they distribute so distributing the binary shouldn't be a problem to anybody; everybody has equal access to the source code.

> In his opinion, no software is free as long as it does not entirely hide from the users all the ways through which they could possibly install any non-free software on that OS. That includes taking all the steps necessary to prevent them from installing any non-free software.

4) Any software is free if it conforms to his definition to free software. RMS will never commend the usage of non-free software. The OpenBSD system is free (according to his definition) but RMS alleges that it recommends non-free software. Because of the (alleged) recommendation made by the OpenBSD system, he cannot recommend the OpenBSD system. This doesn't mean that RMS considers the OpenBSD system to be non-free.

> But how can that in itself be called freedom, when someone prevents you from doing something against your will. It's like saying "you may use the software freely, but I won't let you do THAT, THAT and THAT, because it will hurt your freedom."

5) Way to not understand RMS's plight about making sure that the users and their community have the right to help each other. This means that all distributors of software should allow all users to improve and share any computer program running on their systems.

> What he wants is a world governed by GPL licensed software, living after his laws, where you don't have the RIGHT to redistribute any modified software without giving back.

6) Care to quote RMS about this allegation? You can't? That's because he wants all users of software to have the the four freedoms of free software for every computer program they have in their possession. IF EVERYBODY shared source code along with the binary (as well as the right to share and modify the program), RMS would consider an MIT style licence to be completely adequate for himself and anybody.