Re: What is "free software"?

From: Thorsten Lockert <tholo_at_SigmaSoft.COM>
Date: Mon, 02 Jun 1997 22:55:21 -0700

> >The freedom to distribute modified versions, including changes that
> >the author does not like, is a crucial aspect of free software.
> I disagree. I say this requirement does not reflect common usage of
> the term "free software". Nor is it necessarily correct (these being
> two linked but semi-separate issues; common usage can be wrong). Nor
> is it instrumentally good.
> In connection with the "common usage" part, I want to start by
> pointing out that RMS's "hole" exists mostly in his imagination. The
> huge Linux community, and the smaller but significant
> SpinoffGroupOfTheWeekBSD communities, are going to go right on using
> ncurses whether FSF blesses its license terms or not.

I am not so certain about that; if it had a pure BSD license (which,
like the GPL, allows redistributing changed versions, but does not
have some of the GPL's other limitations), yes. Seeing now that it
does not, I am not at all sure that OpenBSD will keep on distributing
it, as we (or, actually, I) have made some changes to it that we felt
were needed.

> I doubt even RMS will seriously dispute this prediction. While the
> GPL is widely used in the Linux/BSD world, it is nowhere near
> universal, and RMS knows that.

Indeed; we try to avoid using GPL code in OpenBSD (tho for some things
that is not really feasible, eg. when it comes to GCC, GROFF etc.).


Thorsten Lockert        | | Universe, n.:
1238 Page Street #B     | |         The problem.
San Francisco, CA 94117 |      |
Received on Tue Jun 03 1997 - 02:08:01 EDT

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