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Leak: FSFE and OSI Coordinate Rubbing Off Free Software by Saying “Open Source” is the Same (It's Not, Same False Argument From 20 Years Earlier)

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Summary: Three years ago the 20-year anniversary of an attack on Free software (which an OSI founder and high-profile boosters said was a plan to dethrone Richard Stallman) was secretly exploited by the FSFE in coordination with OSI leadership

TODAY we present an E-mail which exposes coordination between OSI/"Open Source" (and OSI President Simon Phipps) and the FSFE, undoing much of the work of the FSF while painting the FSF as unreasonable or even radical. We let the readers decide for themselves, but we're adding some thoughts of members of ours, who saw the E-mail prior to this publication.



This happened months after the trademark dispute (FSF demanding that FSFE stops misusing the "FSF" name). "For most practical purposes," Ryan explains, "Free and Open Source mean the same thing, but Open Source doesn't emphasize in making sure it stays available under the same terms. So any changes made under a proprietary license are simply useless to everyone else and lost forever if it gets discontinued. It can also be turned against the user in all sorts of horrible and twisted ways, like Apple did to create macOS and iOS."

“...call it Hegelian brainwashing, or hermetic mergers for purposes of deception, not limited to software licenses...”
      --Anonymous
"The FSF used to say if it's trivial," Ryan continues, "as in <150 lines of code, or implements something that is an open specification that we're trying to encourage adoption of, or there's already lots of proprietary implementations out there, sometimes a more permissive license does more good than harm."

Matthias Kirschner, who recently accepted money from Microsoft, sent the following message, alluding to the OSI's President at the time (Simon Phipps), showing how they coordinated statements on "Free Software and Open Source Software" (if they mean it, FSFE should just rename/rebrand as OSIE, or maybe replace the O with an M now that it's partly Microsoft funded... to became MSIE). Here's the E-mail in question, citing a blog post from Phipps, published 5 days after the FSF had sent a message concerning the FSFE's violation of the 2005 agreement:

Subject: Joint Statement about "Free Software and Open Source Software" Date: Mon, 11 Dec 2017 15:55:17 +0100 From: Matthias Kirschner <mk@fsfe.org> To: team@lists.fsfe.org

Hello all,

after a discussion on the legal network mailing list, which resulted in my blog post http://k7r.eu/2-percent-discussion-free-software-or-open-source-software/ and then in longer discussions on https://lists.fsfe.org/pipermail/discussion/2017-November/011994.html and individual follow-up, Simon Phipps and I had the idea to use the upcmming 20th anniversary of the term "Open Source" on 9 February 2018 for a joint statement.

We would clarify for newcomers that it is the same software. Encourage everybody to work with others although they might use another terminology. Show them that even organisations which use different terms can work together. Simon is positive that he gets support by others in OSI about that, and I thought that we will also agree on this, as it it will be mainly a repetition of our official statement: https://fsfe.org/freesoftware/basics/comparison.en.html (we might add some arguments from my blog post above + parts of Simon's articles: https://webmink.com/essays/causality/ https://meshedinsights.com/2017/06/07/free-vs-open/ ).

I would continue to discuss that idea with Simon Phipps so we could get such a statement ready in time, and get other organisations on board, too. I'll share any text drafts here before.

Best Regards, Matthias

-- Matthias Kirschner - President - Free Software Foundation Europe Schönhauser Allee 6/7, 10119 Berlin, Germany | t +49-30-27595290 Registered at Amtsgericht Hamburg, VR 17030 | (fsfe.org/join) Contact (fsfe.org/about/kirschner) - Weblog (k7r.eu/blog.html) _______________________________________________ Team mailing list Team@lists.fsfe.org https://lists.fsfe.org/mailman/listinfo/team


The better informed Free software proponents will immediately understand what's going on here. They are, in effect, doing exactly the opposite of what the FSF would do. Under the guise of 'peace' of whatnot they sort of bury the original brand. No wonder not too long after that an FSF Board member (Ben) said that they need to further distance themselves from this "Open Source" lunacy, which was already opening up to proprietary software giants, including Microsoft.

As one person has just put it in IRC, "they do seem purposely trying to muddy the waters... call it Hegelian brainwashing, or hermetic mergers for purposes of deception, not limited to software licenses... I think it's used for many many many things..."

“Permissive licenses harm the Free Software Movement in general...”
      --Ryan
"Show them that even organisations which use different terms can work together" is the part he was alluding to. They're basically trying to paint the FSF as irrational, hostile zealots. When it is in fact the FSF that's under attack, along with the term Free (as in freedom) software. The person argues that "his [Kirschner's] "different terms" strikes me as disingenuous, i.e. trying to convince people [that] different terms are actually the same... people might think I'm too harsh, but to me, there's no other word except attempted brainwashing, also known as EEE of course..."

The merger is even broader than the above, as we shall show in a separate leak.

"Permissive licenses harm the Free Software Movement in general," Ryan notes, "although sometimes that harm is outweighed by the benefit of solving a bigger problem. If Microsoft swallows FLAC and Opus and AV1, more people will use it. That helps us if they grab it and use it. In general, just giving them software to pick over that would make Windows or Office or Azure work better sets us back."

“...whether you are pro or against something, when the waters are muddied it's difficult to even have a conversation... after things get warped.”
      --Anonymous
The move was explained as follows in IRC: "embrace a word, extend its meaning to what you want it to mean, extinguish the original definition, destroy by "merging" with something of [a] different meaning [...] it annoys me to no end, because whether you are pro or against something, when the waters are muddied it's difficult to even have a conversation... after things get warped. If successful, it means future people are both just attacking or praising straw men basically [and] it destroys any possible debate..."

Not only the OSI and the FSFE 'colluded' in this agenda, as future leaks will show. That helps explain why particular statements were made one year ago when media shifted attention from a Gates/Epstein MIT scandal to a bogus RMS/MIT scandal (over a misquoted/misinterpreted E-mail).

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