Free Software v. “Open Source” community?
My reply to Bjarni:
Wait, who cares?
Why does this matter?
Well, although I’m sure most people don’t care, us geeks can get really emotional about the difference between Free Software and Open Source. Violent, even.
Every geek has an opinion. But when asked to explain, we falter and wave our hands, “admitting” that there’s really no difference, or spouting vague nonsense about pragmatism vs. idealism or even communism vs. capitalism.
I’ve always found this deeply unsatisfying. Because although I respect Open Source, I love Free Software.
So what is the difference? I propose the following definitions:
The Free Software Community writes and shares software with an explicit intent to safeguard the rights and freedoms of its users by eliminating antifeatures and natural monopolies.
The Open Source Community writes and shares software with an explicit intent to advance the state of the art of computing through open collaboration and publication.
Both are noble goals, members of both camps can stand proud. But when stated this way, they are also obviously different.