Re: Thanks, and a Brief Survey

On Fri, 2010-01-15 at 10:15 -0800, Lefty (石鏡 ) wrote:
> On 1/15/10 10:01 AM, "David Schlesinger" <lefty shugendo org> wrote:
> > 
> >> Free software isn't a synonym for open source, and by only using 'free
> >> software' you aren't including all the OSI definitions which GNOME also
> >> endorses.
> > 
> > This is actually an excellent, and an important, point.
> Having poked around a little bit, I think this needs to be stated more
> strongly. We certainly have software in GNOME that's being made available
> under the Apache license. (The keyring is an example a little Google'ing
> turned up...)
> With respect to the v2 GPL‹and we still don't accept v3 GPL software as
> GNOME components, last I heard‹software under the Apache license can't be
> reasonably described as "free software", since it is incompatible with what
> is uncontrovertibly a "free software license", i.e. the v2 GPL. It is,
> regardless, unequivocally "open source software".

It's practically speaking a problem if GNOME ships any code under a GPL
incompatible license. This is something that should be red-flagged by
the release team, because it will cause problems in effectively sharing
and moving code between GNOME components.

But it has very little to do with "Free Software" vs. "Open Source
Software". E.g. the FSF page on licensing has a section called:

"GPL-Incompatible Free Software Licenses"

Including the Apache license.

> Given this, we cannot legitimately simply use the term "free software" to
> describe what's included under the GNOME umbrella. Doing so would exclude
> any software which is licensed under terms which the FSF says are
> incompatible with the GPL.

GNOME has strong historical ties to the Free Software movement and
believes in Free Software/Open Source Software as a positive societal
good, and not just a convenient business strategy. For this reason, I
think "Free Software" should be our preferred term.

There are of course, audiences for which "Free Software" can be a
confusing and unfamiliar term and in communicating with these audiences
we may want to refer to "Open Source Software" additionally or even

- Owen

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