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Nagarjun replies to a long thread in ilug Mumbai about Free Software and
Clarifies a lot of doubts.
See the thread here
This is a reply to the entire thread so far, so not quoting any of
I wish to clarify the difference by example, between OSS and <free>
Take 'Pine', an email client, releases source code, you can modify the
sources, but can't distribute the changes you make according to pine
license. Such a software is open source according to OSI. So,
opening is not enough, we need the freedom to distribute the changes
we make. Similarly 'scilab', a scientific application, is open source
but not a <free> software.
Therefore, all <free> software is open source, but not vice versa. So,
free software is a proper subset of open source software.
However, the number of open source applications that are not free
software is very very tiny. So, it is also correct to say MOST open
source applications are free software. Count the number of
applications, not the number of licenses, to get the correct inclusion
relation between them. If, OSI excludes those few applications that do
not give the freedom to distribute the changes, then all <free>
software is open source and vice versa. FSF should not change its
stand is very clear, if you see how carefully the <free> software is
defined. OSI's definition is left vague. May be business thrives by
being vague. Let us ask OSI to modify their license listing policy.
The use of the term 'open source' by the OSI may have created a nice
term for the tongue, but at the cost of freedom. But, as I told you
MOST open source applications do give you the freedom anyway. Still,
it is surprising that OSI advocates seldom talk of the values like
freedom. They continue to fetch contracts from govt and companies by
arguing that oss is economical. Remember, they said they wanted to
eliminate precisely this problem when they chose 'open' in place of
'free'. Did they succeed in clarifying? Certainly not.
Open source adherents talk of total cost of ownership, while <free>
software people say freedom is always expensive for we need to protect
it constantly. That is why I always end my speach with: "Run for
freedom even if it is expensive!" In order to sustain freedom we need
to constantly work against the tendencies that try to take away our
freedom. Metaphorically, a system must do work to maintain its
stability, other wise the system will tend to a state of higher
entropy. <Free> software community is an open system, like a living
organism, takes feed from the environment and sustains itself by
working against non-free software and those who promote them.
I agree with the interpretation that <free> software is a social,
cultural movement with wider implications to the future of human
society. open source movement, if at all it is, emphasizes technology
and a development model. I have no disagreements with their
If only OSI mends their licensing list policy, the differences between
<free> and open source community will become thinner, if not disappear.
"Value your freedom, or you will lose it, teaches history.
`Don't bother us with politics', respond those who don't want to learn."
-- Richard Stallman
Me scribbles at http://www.pravi.co.nr
I would like to know if there is an annual free
software event held in India?
I believe the Free Software, Free Society Conference
(http://fsfs.hipatia.net/) is held in a different
country, each year?
Software Freedom Day, and other GLUG events are
primarily local to the place or city where they
belong, and they are not exclusively free software.
I believe, an event in India for free software will
greatly help our cause.
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Its not just the magazines that say like this, at times even "premier" newspapers like "The Hindu" too is prone to making such off-remarks. Thankfully the paper has a significant presence only in South India.
Here's what G Mahadevan wrote on 28 Feb this year.
"... In fact, there are many committed users of free software who argue that this `geek factor' may be one reason for inhibiting the growth of free software usage in the State. A lecturer in a teaching department of the University of Kerala and a vocal proponent of free software points out that the `free software debate' as it were has now become politicised, personalised and is today anything but `free.' Some votaries of free software have taken their case beyond all limits. The kind of philosophical arguments about the differences between free software and open-source software actually put off everyone except the most committed users. Many a time the casual user of the computer is scared off Linux by all this geek-speak...."
G Mahadevan could have taken some time off to learn about the differences in the same time he took for going after someone who doesn't know it.
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[Sorry for cross-posting]
Hello Fellow Ubunteros,
Hope by this time you would have known that the Ubuntu Indian Local
Community Team has got the Official Status from the Council. See
We have a few requests as well as announcements to be made.
* Firstly we would appreciate if the GLUG's have their Local Ubuntu
Teams who will be responsible for creating awareness about Ubuntu and
Ubuntu-In community and also distribute the Ubuntu CDs in their Monthly
meets or FOSS Events organised by placing bulk orders.
* We request you to create a Wiki page for your Local Team on our
ubuntu-in.org website and start posting/contributing. Once you have
created a wiki page kindly link it from
For e.g.. Once you have created a wiki page for your regional team say
[Ubuntu_Chennai] kindly go to the Regional_Teams wiki page mentioned
above and add your team name and link it.
* You can help us in Localisation/translation/Packaging for Dapper as
well as future Ubuntu releases.
* Contribute Articles, Documentations, Frequently Asked Questions /Answers
* Keep giving suggestions to help make Ubuntu better for us and the world.
You can subscribe to ubuntu-in mailing list to get the latest
Hang around in our IRC channel #ubuntu-in @ irc.freenode.net
"Live the Spirit of Ubuntu - Linux for Human Beings"
Baishampayan Ghose <b.ghose(a)gnu.org.in>
Free Software Foundation of India
BB2C E244 15AD 05C5 523A 90E7 4249 3494 8636 1B74
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From "Fast Track to Linux" published by DIGIT, section 1.2.1 (page 15)
A closely-related but not similar idea is that of free software. Free
software means, well, that the software is available for free. It is
already compiled and ready to use. Open source only means the source
code is available to whoever wishes to build it and make
fully-functional software. Free software need not be open source and
similarly, open source software need not be free either. A free, but
not open source, software can only be used, but cannot be modified-or
for that matter dissected to see how it works. Open source software
can also be a paid software, in which the source code is made available
to the buyer. Open source and free software are closely related in the
Linux world, but they are not the same.
and last paragraph on page 16
No discussion on open source or free software is complete without the
mention of Ricahard Stallman, the founder of GNU project
Any known method of education to teach them ?
PS: I stopped reading it after that page.