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The Linux Foundation, OSI and the Neglected Values of Freedom

Posted in BSD, Free/Libre Software, FSF, GPL, Microsoft, Novell, OSI at 10:17 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Difference of opinion is no excuse for fighting though

The Novell-LF special relationship was demonstrated in the past in order to explain their attitudes. If following of the moneyflow is the path to better understanding of action, then caution will be required when the Foundation delivers a message on behalf of its f[o]unding members, collectively.

The business-oriented approach of the Linux Foundation was noted on several occasions before and it’s pretty well expressed in the following new article.

I came away from the second annual Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit with mixed feelings. I mean, it’s hard not to support the group that pays Linus Torvalds to spend his time continuing to lead the poster-boy project for free and open source software. But at the same time, those golden chains are my biggest concern about the Linux Foundation.

IBM sponsored the event, and they are the biggest supporter of Linux in the corporate world. The foundation membership is made up of almost all the large and and many of wanna-be-large IT firms around the globe — including Adobe, which is one of the foundation’s newest members.

“…Perens will be better off defending and promoting the GPLv3.”There are other similar issues that apply to the OSI. In order to prevent greater influence by Microsoft inside the OSI, Bruce Perens recently stepped up to be elected, yet it does not appear as though he was successful, despite the overwhelming support in his online petition. In any event, the OSI had already lost some credibility with dilution of key values, so Perens will be better off defending and promoting the GPLv3. In fact, the software that runs his news site, Technocrat, has just been released under the AGPLv3, which on a separate note Google continues to snub (whereas Palamida had it welcomed). Where is Chris DiBona and when will there be an open explanation for this?

There are other noteworthy frictions in the Free software world. Theo de Raadt goes on the offensive against Richard Stallman again, although he would be wiser to bury the hatchets and let all this hostility slide. We showed before, using Microsoft’s internal documents, how the company encourages civil wars, friction and hostility among allies which jointly become great threat to it. These are ugly, unethical and maybe even illegal measures to take.

Anyway, those wondering what Theo is up to at a moment will find information here.

The song for the upcoming 4.3 release is titled, “Home to Hypocrisy”, with scathing references to some recent postings on the OpenBSD -misc mailing list by Free Software Foundation creator Richard Stallman.

He now uses some humour against Richard Stallman, but it’s unnecessary and hardly amusing. Criticism is fine, but being polite and gentle is a virtue.

“Real men don’t attack straw men”

Richard Stallman, December 2007

Richard Stallman and the GPLv3

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  1. Logan said,

    April 12, 2008 at 4:16 pm


    So Google, like Microsoft, wants to dictate what license a developer chooses for his code. I’m shocked! No, really. Shocked!

    This is the same guy who was against Microsoft licenses being officially recognized as “Open Source Licenses” because they weren’t “free enough”. God bless hypocrisy, because he always done so.

  2. Victor Soliz said,

    April 13, 2008 at 12:13 am


    MS’ licenses remain a terrible choice though, specially the one that was specifically designed to work against the GPL.

    AGPL sounds interesting, I’d like to see a vBulletin equivalent on it. Perhaps if I had the time…

  3. Victor Soliz said,

    April 13, 2008 at 12:19 am


    Anyways, google is just dictating what licenses to use if you want their hosting:

    It is also not okay to host an AGPL covered program on code.google.com
    by saying it is GPL, as you are telling the users of the site one
    thing, while meaning something else altogether. So sadly, the answer
    is to remove your project and host somewhere else like sf or savannah.

    So he was basically saying, “you can use AGPL, but not here”. I actually see not much of an issue here.

  4. Roy Schestowitz said,

    April 13, 2008 at 1:00 am


    So he was basically saying, “you can use AGPL, but not here”.

    Is the AGPL some form of cigarette (to Google)? Sure sounds like it.

  5. Rui Miguel Silva Seabra said,

    April 13, 2008 at 7:32 am


    The link and quote at the end is, in fact, Real men DON’T attack straw men. Please correct! :)

  6. Roy Schestowitz said,

    April 13, 2008 at 7:48 am


    Whoopsie. I did this quickly. I googled “Real men attack straw” to just quickly find the thread and then copied the text thinking that I had already included the word “don’t” (abbreviated for faster search).

  7. J.B. Nicholson-Owens said,

    May 4, 2008 at 10:36 am


    Google isn’t “dictating” any licensing for the works hosted on Google Hosting. Copyright holders get the power to choose their license (this is a power, not a freedom, because the act of licensing means determining terms for others, not for oneself). Google is offering hosting with restrictions aimed at benefiting themselves, Google isn’t able to change the terms of the license unless the license for a work unless the work’s license already allows relicensing. If Google were dictating licensing Google would be the sole copyright holder to the works hosted on Google Hosting and they’d use that control over the licensing of the works hosted there.

    So it’s interesting to note why Google restricts the set of allowable licenses (and Brad Kuhn of the Software Freedom Law Center did an excellent job of this in his post to Fabrizio
    Capobianco’s blog — http://www.funambol.com/blog/capo/2008/03/google-blocking-agpl-in-google-code.html#c4629641731974008715).

    @Logan: With regards to your claim: “This is the same guy who was against Microsoft licenses being officially recognized as “Open Source Licenses” because they weren’t “free enough”. God bless hypocrisy, because he always done so.”

    What’s your source for RMS saying this?

    At first blush, your comment reads like someone who doesn’t understand that RMS isn’t in the open source movement, someone who might be attributing something to him and then arguing against that point (hence the quote at the end about not attacking straw men). So I’d like to know where I can find RMS advocating against Microsoft’s licenses being considered “open source” for any reason, particularly because “they weren’t ‘free enough’”.

    RMS has spent plenty of time in talks and essays explaining how he doesn’t want his work or the free software community he founded (over a decade before the Open Source Initiative began the open source movement, by the way) “lumped in with them [the open source movement]” (see http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-software-for-freedom.html and the updated essay which is linked from that same location). RMS wrote: “We are not against the Open Source movement, but we don’t want to be lumped in with them. We acknowledge that they have contributed to our community, but we created this community, and we want people to know this. We want people to associate our achievements with our values and our philosophy, not with theirs. We want to be heard, not obscured behind a group with different views.”

    So I’d find it surprising if he were advocating one way or another on which licenses the Open Source Initiative approved of. To my knowledge RMS doesn’t even advocate as such regarding the licenses he wrote.

  8. Roy Schestowitz said,

    May 5, 2008 at 2:41 am


    J.B. Nicholson-Owens,

    I think he was referring to Chris DiBona, not to RMS. See http://www.linux.com/feature/118677

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