It's Time to Talk about Free Software Again
I'm Bruce Perens. You may know me as the primary author of the Debian Free Software Guidelines and the Open Source Definition. I wrote the Electric Fence malloc() debugger, and some pieces of Debian. And you may remember me for having brought the TIGER map database to free software. If you want copies of that, you can get them through Dale Scheetz .
About a year ago, I sent out a message announcing "Open Source". Eric Raymond and I founded the Open Source Initiative as a way of introducing the non-hacker world to Free Software. Well, thanks to Eric, the world noticed. And now it's time for the second stage: Now that the world is watching, it's time for us to start teaching them about Free Software. Notice, I said Free Software, _not_ Open Source.
Most hackers know that Free Software and Open Source are just two words for the same thing. Unfortunately, though, Open Source has de-emphasized the importance of the freedoms involved in Free Software. It's time for us to fix that. We must make it clear to the world that those freedoms are still important, and that software such as Linux would not be around without them.
One of the unfortunate things about Open Source is that it overshadowed the Free Software Foundation's efforts. This was never fair - although some disapprove of Richard Stallman's rhetoric and disagree with his belief that _all_ software should be free, the Open Source Definition is entirely compatible with the Free Software Foundation's goals, and a schism between the two groups should never have been allowed to develop. I objected to that schism, but was not able to get the two parties together. Another unfortunate fact is the certification mark dispute which has gone on between Software in the Public Interest and the Open Source Initiative for a whole year. That was entirely my fault.
Sadly, as I've tended toward promotion of Free Software rather than Open Source, Eric Raymond seems to be losing his free software focus. The Open Source certification mark has already been abused in ways I find unconscionable and that I will not abide. I fear that the Open Source Initiative is drifting away from the Free Sofware values with which we originally created it. It's ironic, but I've found myself again siding with Software in the Public Interest and the Free Software Foundation, much as I did in 1995. I feel that the Open Source Definition, which was copied from the Debian Free Software Guidelines, should still be our touchstone, and I'll be working to promote software that fits that definition, but independently from the Open Source Initiative.
This is the story submission from ESR
ESR writes "Today, following a recent dustup on the discussion list for the upcoming Open Source Summit in which he described Tim O'Reilly as ``one of the leading parisites (sic) of the free software community'', Bruce Perens resigned from the board of the Open Source Initiative.
Though no formal motion has yet been passed, it seems likely that OSI will shortly replace Bruce and add two more directors in an effort to broaden its base of representation in the open-source community. A shortlist of nominees had already been assembled for the two additional seats.