Below is an excerpt from a debate that happened on BytesForAll (a network
that some of us in India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka helped
set up). I think what Tapan Parikh says is fascinating. Am sharing it with
you guys at FSF. We need to more effectively network NGOs (or
not-for-profits, developers and ITforDevelopment circuits). As of now,
we're working in concentric circles, it would seem. FN
PS: Satish Jha is of digitalpartners.org
. Tapan Parikh is a US-returned
expat (in his twenties, idealistic, currently forming a team around the
EkGaon, literally One Village, network).
---------- Forwarded message ----------
Free software is not about policy makers, not about heads of 100 million
dollar "information service" systems, not about NGOs or Development or,
even to a certain degree - about users even. It is about programmers.
I program in free software because I enjoy programming in free software.
I like seeing the insides and the source code of the libraries I am
working with and linking with. I like the insight I get from seeing
other peoples code, being able to understand how it does (or doesnt)
work. This is very important as this source code will end up being a
large part of the application I eventually compile and distribute. And
I prefer free over open source because I dont want any legal hassles,
and Open Source is a vague enough concept so that I cant understand what
I can and cannot do with that source. With Free Software, with GPL
software, there is no such question. Call it a programmers view of safe
The quality of the product is unquestionable. Seems a lot of people
are, whatever Mr. Jha's reservations, choosing to use free software.
run on Apache? If it doesnt, it should.
As any of us with the brains and experience to know anything can easily
tell you - IIS sucks.
There are many other examples. So all with the power to do so please
choose, and choose wisely. If you look at the situation objectively, I
am sure you will realize that in the year 2002 for the optimal solution
of any companies business and other needs - a large part of that will be
served by what we now call Free Software.
But dont presume to understand or impose outdated, skeptical and
fundamental economic theories upon a system you fundamentally dont
understand. Because to really understand, you have to start with the
basic premise - first and foremost, free software is by and for
programmers. All else is incidental, and we can see the power of the
incidental even now, and this wonderful conference by the vaunted
InfoDev falls into just this category - incidental.
(Sorry to be so late, I am a bit slow in connectivity nowadays.)
On Sun, 20 Oct 2002 00:54:09 +0530 (IST)
Frederick Noronha <fred(a)bytesforall.org> wrote:
On Sat, 19 Oct 2002 sjha(a)vsnl.com wrote:
open source is good, free software?????....
i am not closed to linux or open source. i am closed to "free". good
that sunil has clarified his perspective and i am with that. open
source- yes. free software as in free beer-- no!!
This argument is premised on a basic misconception of Free
Software. Going by the reporting of Mr Jha below, one can see
surfacing many of the fears of people grown on a generation of
copyright-restricted software, loaded concepts like 'software piracy'
and profiteering from blocking access to others information/code.
It's time to perhaps rethink fundamentals.
Below is a note from RMS (Richard M Stallman), the Founder of the Free
Software Foundation. It was written in the context of the Washington
conference itself, and I take the liberty of reproducing it below. If
people like Stallman were around, perhaps there would be less scope
for such a fundamental confusion of issues. FN
PS: There's a difference between Linux and GNU/Linux too...
PPS: I know young coders who have totally changed their way of
thinking after reading Stallman's 2001 biography from O'Reiley. Trying
to get a copy in time for his Nov 2002 visit to India (it might happen
the same month that Bill Gates comes too ;-)
Frederick Noronha * Freelance Journalist * Goa * India 832.409490 /
409783 BYTESFORALL www.bytesforall.org
Email fred(a)bytesforall.org * Mobile +9822 122436 (Goa) * Saligao Goa
India Writing with a difference... on what makes *the* difference
From RICHARD M STALLMAN
From rms(a)gnu.org ....
Tony Stanco invited me to speak at the conference in October, but I
felt obliged to refuse. The reason is that it is presented solely as
an "open source" conference. My participating in it would encourage
people to think I am a supporter of the Open Source Movement. A
number of other people from the Free Software Movement are also
declining to participate, for the same reason.
Since 1984, the Free Software Movement has championed users' freedom
to share and change the software they use. This is an ethical and
social issue, not just a technical and practical one. We developed
the GNU operating system so that users could have freedom.
In the 1990s, millions of users began using our free software, and
many of them appreciated its practical benefits but not the ethical
and social benefits. In 1998, some of them founded the Open Source
Movement. This movement cites only the practical advantages of being
able to share and change software, and studiously avoids presenting
this as a question of right and wrong. This may seem like a subtle
point, but actually it is a fundamental difference in basic values.
As a result, the statements of the two movements are as different as
night and day. (Contrast http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/
and you'll see.)
The Open Source Movement has had a lot of publicity, which often
labels our work as "open source". An article in New Scientist this
year even said that I founded the Open Source Movement. The result of
this confusion is that the Free Software Movement and its views are
often hidden behind the Open Source Movement. We've learned to be
wary of participating in events that would put the "open source" label
I asked Tony Stanco to please make this event an "open source and free
software" event, and thus make room for our movement as well as the
other, but he said the event's sponsors were unwilling. Do you think
you might be able to convince them to make room for us?
more explanation of the difference between the two movements. By the
way, the operating system isn't really "Linux", either.
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