Source

shlomi-fish-homepage / lib / docbook / 5 / xml / foss-and-other-beasts-v3.xml

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<?xml version='1.0' encoding='UTF-8'?>
<article xmlns="http://docbook.org/ns/docbook" xmlns:xlink="http://www.w3.org/1999/xlink" version="5.0" xml:id="index" xml:lang="en-GB">

<info>
    <title>Open Source, Free Software and Other Beasts (version 3)</title>
    <authorgroup>
        <author>
            <personname>
                <firstname>Shlomi</firstname>
                <surname>Fish</surname>
            </personname>
            <affiliation>
                <address>
                    <email>shlomif@shlomifish.org</email>
                    <uri type="homepage" xlink:href="http://www.shlomifish.org/" />
                </address>
            </affiliation>
        </author>
    </authorgroup>

    <copyright>
        <year>2004, 2006, 2011</year>
        <holder>Shlomi Fish</holder>
    </copyright>

    <legalnotice xml:id="main_legal_notice">
    <!-- Ci vis pacem -->
    <para>
    <!-- belum. ;-) -->
        This document is copyrighted by Shlomi Fish under the
        <link xlink:href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/">Creative
        Commons Attribution Unported Licence version 3.0</link> (or, at
        your option, any greater version).
    </para>
</legalnotice>

</info>

<section xml:id="introduction"><info><title>Introduction</title></info>

<para>
Many people will hear about Linux in the news, being the cool new operating
system that everyone can use free of charge. Those who become interested in
it enough or actually start working with it, will learn that it is made out
of many independent “open source” components. Now, after enough time
(perhaps very soon), they will learn that the term “free software” (where
free is free as in “free speech” and not free as in “free beer”) can be
used as an alternative to the adjective “open source”. But what is open
source and free software? What distinguishes them from other software that
is available to the public at no cost or is distributed as shareware?
</para>

<para>
Note that the terms “free software” and “open source” would be used
throughout this article to refer to the same phenomenon. I do not religiously
stick to either term.
</para>

</section>


<section xml:id="licences_and_proprietary_software">
    <info>
        <title>Software Licences and “Proprietary” Software</title>
    </info>

<para>
This section deals with the legal details of distributing software, and the
so-called licences that dictate what can be done with them.
</para>

<para>
Software out of being a sequence of bits, that can be transcribed to a
paper, spoken or otherwise transported is considered speech and so is
protected by the <link xlink:href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_of_speech">Freedom of Speech principle of Liberalism</link>. Thus, writing
software and distributing it are a constitutional right in most liberal
countries.
</para>

<para>
Nevertheless, a piece of software, as any other text, can be copyrighted.
Copyright involves making sure that the software as given to someone else
other than its originator or copyright holder will be restricted in use or
modification. An originator can outline what he believes to be a proper use
of the software in a code licence (which applies to the code) or an
“End-User License Agreement” (or EULA which applies to given binaries).
</para>

<para>
Proprietary software, i.e: such whose use, modification or distribution is
encumbered, was a relatively new phenomenon if you take a look at the old
history of computing. It actually started even before the time when
Microsoft, then a very small company wrote Altair Basic, and Bill Gates
published the famous (or possibly infamous) <link xlink:href="http://www.blinkenlights.com/classiccmp/gateswhine.html">“Open Letter to Altair Hobbyists”</link>.
In fact, IBM and other companies distributed proprietary software for
mainframe systems, a long time before the Personal Computer revolution.
</para>

<para>
The PC revolution, however, made the situation more critical. Soon,
computers became faster, more powerful, with larger memory, and more common
as time went by. At the moment, there are hundreds of millions of Pentiums and
other computers out there, and millions of newer computers are sold each year.
</para>

<para>
Yet, the majority of these computers mostly run software that cannot be
modified or distributed, at least not effectively or legally. The free
software (or open-source) movement started as an anti-thesis to the
tendency of vendors to hide the details of their software from the public.
The Linux Operating System with its various components (most of which are
available to other systems as well, and are not affiliated with the Linux
kernel in particular) is the most visible showcase to this phenomena. By
installing Linux it is possible to turn an everyday personal computer into
a full fledged UNIX-based workstation or server, which is a 100% powerful GNU
system. This can cost little if any money, and the various components of the
operating system are all freely modifiable and can be re-distributed in their
modified form.
</para>

<para>
It is not the only place where free software can be used. It is in fact
possible to turn a Windows installation into a Linux-like GNU system as
well (see <link
    xlink:href="http://www.cygwin.com/">Cygwin</link> for instance) or run
many native Microsoft Windows open-source programs on one’s Windows
installation.
</para>

</section>


<section xml:id="meaning_of_terms"><info><title>Meaning of the terms</title></info>

<para>
According to the <link xlink:href="http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-sw.html">Free Software Definition </link> free software must fulfil 4 freedoms:
</para>

<orderedlist inheritnum="ignore" continuation="restarts">
<listitem>

<para>
The freedom to run the program, for any purpose
</para>

</listitem>
<listitem>
<para>
The freedom to study how the program works, and adapt it to your needs.
Access to the source code is a precondition for this.
</para>

</listitem>
<listitem>

<para>
The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbour
</para>

</listitem>
<listitem>

<para>
The freedom to improve the program, and release your improvements to the
public, so that the whole community benefits . Access to the source code is
a precondition for this.
</para>

</listitem></orderedlist>

<para>
    The <link xlink:href="http://www.opensource.org/docs/definition_plain.php">Open Source definition</link> is similar, but some licences can qualify as
    open-source and not as free
software. This is usually not an issue, because the majority of open source
software out there is free as well. Moreover, lately most of the companies
and people who have phrased their own software licences, have tried to also
get the Free Software Foundation to approve their licences as free software
in their eyes.
</para>

<para>
Despite common belief, selling free/open-source software is perfectly
legitimate. In fact, one can charge as much as he pleases for it.
Nevertheless, most free software is distributed for free or for very
cheaply on the Internet and other mediums. This is due to the fact that its
freely distributable nature does not give way much to sale value, so there
usually is no point in attempting to mandate a charge for selling it.
</para>

<para>
Another common misconception is that it sometimes cannot be modified or
customised for internal use. In fact, all free software (but not <emphasis>all</emphasis>
open source software), can. Only when you wish to distribute it (free of
charge or commercially), you may have to distribute your changes
(depending on the licence - not all open-source licences require that). The
use of open source software to process proprietary content or be processed by
non-open-source programs is also, always available. Thus, an open-source C
compiler can be used to compile the code of proprietary programs, such as the
Oracle database server.
</para>

</section>

<section xml:id="history"><info><title>History</title></info>

<para>
This section is not a definitive overview of the history of the free
software movement. It focuses on the issues regarding the usage of the
common terms.
</para>

<section xml:id="history_unix_bsd"><info><title>Early Days, AT&amp;T UNIX, BSD</title></info>

<para>
The free software movement (before it was called this way) started
organically from individuals who distributed code they wrote under the
Public Domain or what would now be considered open source or semi-open
source licences.
</para>

<para>
AT&amp;T UNIX that started at 1969 was the first showcase for this
movement. Several Bell Labs Engineers led by Ken Thompson developed UNIX
for their own use, and out of legal restrictions AT&amp;T faced, decided to
distribute it to academic organizations and other organizations free-of-charge
with the source included. (that licence did not qualify as open-source but
it was pretty close). UNIX eventually sported the C programming language,
which enabled writing code that would run on many platforms easier, and the
UNIX sources included a C compiler that was itself written in C. Around the
early 70’s the only computers capable of running UNIX were main-frames and
the so-called “mini-computers” so there initially weren’t as many
installations as only large organizations could support buying computers to
deploy UNIX on.
</para>

<para>
That changed as integrated circuits, and computers became cheaper and more
powerful. Very soon, cheap UNIX-based servers and workstations became
commonplace and the number of UNIX installations exploded.
<footnote xml:id="present_day_unixes">
    <para>
    At present day, UNIX clones such as Linux or the BSDs can run on regular
    Pentium-based computers that can be bought from PC shops. Most PC computers
    nowadays can out-compete the UNIX workstations of a few generations back.
    This allow assembling a UNIX server which is much more powerful and much
    less costly than the past ones, and that suffices for most needs.
</para>
</footnote>
</para>

<para>
    Nadav Har’El has prepared <link xlink:href="http://groups.yahoo.com/group/hackers-il/message/1731">a coverage of the BSDs and early AT&amp;T UNIX
        history</link>.
</para>

<para>
The University of California at Berkeley (a.k.a UCB) forked its own version of
AT&amp;T UNIX and started re-writing parts of the code, and incorporating many
changes of its own. The parts that the Berkeley developers wrote on their
own had originally been licensed to UCB and kept as non-FOSS (=
“free and open source software”) “All Rights Reserved” licence. The BSD system
became very
popular (perhaps even more than the AT&amp;T one).
</para>

<para>
When Arpanet, the predecessor to the Internet was disbanded due to inadequacy,
the Internet converted to running on top of 32-bit UNIX boxes such as
the <link xlink:href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VAX">VAX architecture by Digital
Equipment Corporation</link> (now part of Hewlett-Packard). This caused a
merging of the UNIX culture with the Arpanet enthusiasts who exchanged code
on the Arpanet, and UNIX programmers started sharing code for various
components and add-ons of UNIX on the Internet.
</para>

</section>

<section xml:id="history_gnu_free_soft">
    <info>
        <title>Richard Stallman, the GNU Project, and the “Free Software” term</title>
    </info>

<para>
After a while, the legal restrictions posed on AT&amp;T subsided, and it
started to “smell money” and believe it can do better selling UNIX
commercially. It created the AT&amp;T System V system, touted it was better
than AT&amp;T UNIX and the BSDs, and sold it to vendors. System V was sold
under a very restrictive licence, that forced them to hold the source code for
themselves. Even cooperation between two different vendors was not allowed.
</para>

<para>
Gradually, vendors licensed the System V source code and ported it to their
own architectures. This caused an explosion of proprietary UNIX systems.
Sun Microsystems and other vendors took the BSD source code,
diverged from it and distributed it without full access to the code to
all customers. A similar thing happened with
other software distributed under similar licences.
</para>

<para>
To answer this threat, a new phenomenon sprang into existence: the “free
software” movement, the GNU project and the copyleft licences, all led by
one dynamic personality: Richard M. Stallman.
</para>

<para>
Richard Stallman (aka RMS) published
<link xlink:href="http://www.gnu.org/gnu/manifesto.html">the
GNU Manifesto</link> in 1984, which
coined the term “free software”, and explained the rationale behind it.
The Manifesto was also a creed for the the GNU project which aimed to be a
complete UNIX-compatible replacement for UNIX systems, while being
completely original work. The software of the GNU project was released as
free software, under the terms of the <link xlink:href="http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/gpl.html">GNU General Public License</link> (or GPL for short).
</para>

<para>
Gradually, the GNU project created more and more C code to replace the UNIX
and BSD utilities. It was already installable and usable on various
flavours of UNIX, and became a fully independent system once the Linux
kernel was written.
</para>

<para>
The GPL licence is a free software licence that has many fine points. The
most important concepts in it are:
</para>

<orderedlist inheritnum="ignore" continuation="restarts">
<listitem>
<para>
<link xlink:href="http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/">Copyleft</link> - making sure
that derived work that are distributed to the outside includes the source and
is distributed under the same licence. Note that this does not apply to
modifications done for internal or private use.
</para>
</listitem>
<listitem>
<para>
Restrictive Integration by Other Code bases - GPL code can only be linked
against code with free software licences that match some criteria.
<footnote xml:id="viral">
<para>
At one point in time, this property had been sometimes referred to as “viral”,
which appear to have originated from Microsoft’s early criticism of it.
However, while the GPL requires programs that use it to be licensed
under compatible FOSS licences, the worst thing that can happen is that
they will lose the ability to legally use the GPL-licensed code, while
still retaining the copyrights for the original and possibly non-FOSS
codebase.
</para>
</footnote>
</para>
</listitem>
</orderedlist>

<para>
The incentive to restrict a software this way rather than following the
more traditional public domain or public-domain-like licences (as used by such
software as the TeX typesetting system), was to make sure that the
core GNU system would always remain free as well.
</para>

<para>
Encouraged by Stallman’s growing momentum behind the Free Software Foundation
and the GNU project, Berkeley University changed the
licence of the parts that they have originated, to a <link
xlink:href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BSD_licenses#4-clause_license_.28original_.22BSD_License.22.29">a
free software licence which is now called “The Original BSD License”</link>,
which qualified as free software, but as opposed to the GPL was
public-domain-like.
<footnote xml:id="orig_bsd_clause">
<para>
The original BSD licence also has
<link xlink:href="http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/bsd.html">an
advertising clause</link>, that makes it incompatible with the GPL, and
a problem in general. Later versions of the license removed this clause,
and use of the original BSD licence is no longer recommended by the FSF,
although some FOSS packages are still distributed under it.
</para>
</footnote>
To add to this effort, some UCB students decided to <link
    xlink:href="http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20050623114426823">rewrite
    the remaining parts that were licensed to AT&amp;T under the BSD
    licence</link>. This task was
eventually completed that resulted in a BSD system that was entirely under the
BSD licence.
</para>

<para>
However, AT&amp;T did not stand by, and pressed charges against UCB and some
other organisations, for claiming they actually own parts of the BSD operating
system. This brought uncertainty into the BSD world, which would not be
resolved until the 1990s, when the law-suit was decided mostly in favour
of UCB. As a result of this uncertainty, the status of some spin-offs of BSD
(such as <link xlink:href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/386BSD">386BSD</link>,
and its derived operating systems such as FreeBSD or NetBSD) was in a
legal limbo.
</para>
</section>

<section xml:id="history_linux"><info><title>The Linux Kernel, GNU/Linux and the Debian Free Software Guidelines</title></info>

<para>
In 1992, Linus Torvalds, then a student at Helsinki University, began
writing the “Linux” kernel - a 32-bit kernel for UNIX-like operating
systems. The kernel development advanced rapidly and was released under the
GPL licence starting from an early stage. To complete the system and make
it into a usable UNIX system, the Linux developers used various existing
user-land utilities and libraries from the GNU project and other sources
(such as the X-Windows system), and wrote a few user-land utilities from
scratch.
</para>

<para>
From an early stage, this entire system was dubbed “Linux” as well.
Richard Stallman instead has advocated the name <link xlink:href="http://www.gnu.org/gnu/linux-and-gnu.html">“GNU/Linux”</link> (pronounced
“ggnoo-Linux”) which acknowledges the fact that the GNU project
contributed the lion’s share of the system (including some pre-requisites
of the Linux kernel itself).  Most people haven’t consistently followed this
piece of advice.
</para>

<para>
The importance of the Linux kernel was that it was the last brick in
materialising a fully GNU system. Since GNU tools tend to be more complete,
feature-rich and generally superior to tools of other systems, this has
made Linux one of the most powerful UNIX systems available. Nowadays,
most UNIX servers out there, many UNIX workstations, (and many embedded
devices) run the GNU/Linux system. Linux was, thus, the spearhead that guided
the acceptance of free software into the mainstream.
</para>

<para>
<link xlink:href="http://www.debian.org/">Debian GNU/Linux</link> was a Linux distribution that was eventually endorsed
by the GNU project. One of the aspects that made it unique was the fact it
distinguished between “free” and “non-free” packages as far as the
user is concerned. The
<link xlink:href="http://www.debian.org/social_contract.html">guidelines
for determining which software is
“free” in the Debian sense</link> were phrased by Bruce Perens.
</para>

<para>
Note that they deviate from the Free Software Definition (which was only
published later on) and include some licences that are not free. I.e: “Debian
Free” is a superset of free software according to the Stallman definition.
</para>

<para>
This fact is important because later on, the Debian Free Software
Guidelines formed the basis for the open-source definition.
</para>

</section>


<section xml:id="history_open_source">
<info>
<title>The “Cathedral and the Bazaar” and the coining of the term “Open-Source”</title>
</info>

<para>
Eric Steven Raymond (now also known as ESR) wrote
<link xlink:href="http://www.catb.org/~esr/writings/cathedral-bazaar/cathedral-bazaar/">an essay titled
“The Cathedral and the Bazaar”</link>, and
presented it to the Linux Kongress at 21 May 1997. This contrasted the Bazaar
way of managing a software project to the old “Cathedral” way, that was
used by almost all non-free projects and (until that point at least) by most
free ones.
</para>

<para>
“Bazaar” projects are characterised by frequent and incremental release
schedules, treating the users as co-developers, and generally getting a lot
of peer review, ideas, input and cooperation. Despite a common misconception,
the core group of the project contributors still usually remains relatively
small except for some of the larger projects.
</para>

<para>
The article is considered one of the seminal works on free software, and was
followed by other works in what is collectively known as the
<link xlink:href="http://www.catb.org/~esr/writings/cathedral-bazaar/">“Cathedral
and the Bazaar” (or CatB for short) series</link>. It has made
Eric Raymond a famous person, at least among the community of free software
hackers.
</para>

<para>
In February 3, 1998, in Palo Alto California, a brainstorming session
which Raymond attended, coined the term “open source” as an alternative
for “free software”. Their incentive was that when talking to a
businessman, either free software will be understood as gratis software, or it
will be associated with the relatively anti-Capitalistic views
held by Richard Stallman (who claims non-free software is immoral).
They decided that the term “open source” would be a better candidate for
acceptance in the corporate world.
</para>

<para>
    Consult <link xlink:href="http://opensource.org/docs/history.php">the opensource.org history document</link> for further coverage of the history of the term.
</para>

<para>
During the following week, Eric Raymond, and Bruce Perens launched the <link
xlink:href="http://www.opensource.org">opensource.org</link> web-site, and
formed
the Open source definition. This was based on the Debian Free Software
Guidelines.
</para>

<para>
The term “open source” caught on. Very soon, Richard Stallman decided to
reject it on the premise that the freedom of software is more important than
the “openness” of its code. While he does not oppose the openness of the
code, and acknowledges the fact that free software is open source as well,
its freedom remained more important. For more about this stance, read the
document
<link xlink:href="http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-software-for-freedom.html">“Free Software for Freedom”</link> on the GNU web-site.
</para>

<para>
While some people have continuously stuck to the term “free software” and a
few others converted to using “open source” entirely, most knowledgeable
people don’t completely reject either term, and use each one whenever they
see fit. Nevertheless, the term “open source” is more commonly used by both
open source developers and even more so by non open source developers. See
<link xlink:href="http://catb.org/~esr/writings/terminology/">Eric Raymond’s
“Terminology Wars”</link> for more details.
</para>

</section>

<section xml:id="history_recent_developments"><info><title>Linux Becomes More Popular</title></info>

<para>
Since 1997, Linux and other open-source systems have become more and more
popular. Linux saw a lot of success in the server market, where cheap PCs
that can be bought in stores can serve as an almost full replacement for
more costly UNIX servers by installing Linux. Even if the latter are used,
they very often run open source servers and other open source programs,
utilities and frameworks.
</para>

<para>
Linux has become the number one choice for constructing clusters, a large
set of computers that are networked together to form a fast computation
system, with powers that rival or exceed super-computers. There are various
kinds of clusters around. Some of them are performed at a relatively high
level. Others, try to make the system believe it has as many processors as
there are nodes.
</para>

<para>
Linux also had a lot of success in the embedded market, serving as the
framework for creating software that is embedded in hardware.
</para>

<para>
The Internet boom not only made free software more essential for its
operation , but also enabled more and more users and developers to share
their code, get help and work together for advancing it.
</para>

<para>
At the moment, Linux had a much more limited success as a choice for a
desktop system. While it used to be the only operating system that was gaining
market share (at least until the renaissance of Apple with its Mac OS X), it
still has a very low one, in comparison to Microsoft solutions. Many projects
started to supply users with desktop and GUI
environments and applications. Some of them are very mature, usable and
successful. Only time can tell if and when Linux becomes the default
solution for the desktop.
</para>

<para>
Apple’s Mac OS X was released and is based on Darwin, which is an
open-source BSD-derived system. Mac OS X can run UNIX applications natively,
and supports the X-Windows system, which is the de-facto GUI framework for
UNIXes (including Linux). It is therefore a popular UNIX choice for
PowerMac computers (and more recently for Macintosh computer based on
Intel-based chips), albeit not the only one since Linux, and various
open-source BSD clones and other UNIXes can run there as well.
</para>

<para>
The recent recession in the information technology market, did not seem to
slow down the development of open source software.
<link xlink:href="http://freecode.com/">Freecode (formerly Freshmeat)</link>
is still busy as ever with releases of new software, and since the recession
started, many important new releases were done for a lot of major applications
and even many more less important ones.
</para>

</section>

<section xml:id="open_source_and_open_content_become_mainstream"><info><title>Open Source and Open Content Become Mainstream</title></info>


<para>
While open source software has existed for DOS and Microsoft Windows
practically since the beginning, and some of it was relatively popular among
people, most of the software available for these platforms has been
non-open-source binary-only software, a lot of it from Microsoft.
</para>

<para>
This has started to change recently. The
<link xlink:href="http://www.mozilla.com/firefox/">Firefox
browser</link> from the home of the Mozilla Foundation (and now also the
Mozilla Corporation), is an open-source,  modern and sophisticated browser,
that has been virally publicised by various means such as
<link xlink:href="http://www.spreadfirefox.com/">the various
“Spread Firefox” campaigns</link>. It has become popular and as of July
2006 has passed the 10% usage in web site hits according to some firms,
and in some countries much more so. It is still gaining some market share,
even if its growth has declined somewhat.
</para>

<para>
Other cross-platform open source software includes
<link xlink:href="http://www.openoffice.org/">OpenOffice.org</link>, a powerful
and usable office productivity software for Windows, Linux and other
platforms, <link xlink:href="http://www.gimp.org/">the GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation
Program)</link>, a sophisticated raster image editing program, and
<link xlink:href="http://www.inkscape.org/">Inkscape</link>, a vector editing
program, many open-source music and media players such as <link xlink:href="http://www.videolan.org/vlc/">VLC</link>, and also most Peer-to-Peer networking
clients. These have probably seen less popularity than Firefox, but are still
providing cheap, open, modifiable alternatives to traditional binary-only
software.
</para>

<para>
In 2003, a study was published that estimated that <link xlink:href="http://discuss.fogcreek.com/joelonsoftware3/default.asp?cmd=show&amp;ixPost=98232&amp;ixReplies=39">by 2004,
more software developers will write software for Linux than for
Windows</link>. While it definitely
does not mean that more people will use Linux at home, it is still a good
indication for its general mainstream acceptance and usefulness.
</para>

<para>
Another important recent trend was <emphasis role="bold">the rise
of open content</emphasis>.
<link xlink:href="http://fc-solve.shlomifish.org/oss-fs/docbook/">The
first edition of this article</link>, included
<link xlink:href="http://fc-solve.shlomifish.org/oss-fs/docbook/oss-fs/x181.html">a
small section about “open content”</link>, where I concluded by saying that
“Only time can tell whether other elements of open source besides its freely
distributable nature will have an impact in other areas of creative arts
besides software.”. Now, about 3 years later, I can say that by all means
open content has already proven to be a great success.
</para>

<para>
Among the landmarks of open or semi-open content are:
</para>

<orderedlist inheritnum="ignore" continuation="restarts">

<listitem>
<para>
<link xlink:href="http://creativecommons.org/">The Creative Commons project</link>
that specifies licences for open content, semi-open content or just freely
redistributable artworks for individuals and organisations to use in
their artwork, as well as supplying several resources for facilitating their
publishing and use.
</para>

<para>
Creative Commons’ licences have proven to be very popular among many web
publishers for use in their works.
</para>
</listitem>

<listitem>
<para>
<link xlink:href="http://wikimedia.org/">The Wikimedia Foundation</link>
publishes several online multi-lingual wikis - web sites that are
editable by common web visitors - all under an open content licence. The most
famous and important one are
<link xlink:href="http://www.wikipedia.org/">the
Wikipedias</link>, which are free, online encyclopaedias. The English
Wikipedia (which is still the largest) is larger than Encyclopaedia Britannica
and Microsoft Encarta combined and is growing rapidly.
</para>
</listitem>

<listitem>
<para>
There are many sites for independent musicians, such as
<link xlink:href="http://ccmixter.org/">ccMixter</link>
<link xlink:href="http://magnatune.com/">Magnatune</link> (a record label that
publishes artists whose songs are under a freely redistributable licence) and
<link xlink:href="http://jamendo.com/">Jamendo</link> (a musical showcase
for artists whose music is under any of the Creative Commons licences).
</para>
</listitem>

<listitem>
<para>
From weblogs and weblog comments, to wikis, to audiocasts or video-blogs -
open or semi-open content is everywhere.
</para>
</listitem>

</orderedlist>

</section>

</section>


<section xml:id="difference_of_views">
<info>
<title>Difference between “Open Source” and “Free Software”.</title>
</info>

<para>
The term “free software” was coined by Richard Stallman, and is
associated with the <link xlink:href="http://www.fsf.org/">Free Software
Foundation</link>.  The term “open source” was coined by Eric Raymond and is
advocated by him and other people at the
<link xlink:href="http://www.opensource.org/">Open Source Initiative</link>.
Nevertheless, those who consider themselves in either camp, much less those
who use either or both terms, do not necessarily hold the opinions of these
figures. Therefore I will not globally associate them with the
“free software movement” or the “open source movement” because both include
many users and
developers with heterogeneous opinions on the subject. Moreover, they are
pretty much one and the same.
</para>

<para>
Nevertheless, it is important to summarise their opinions, because they are
recurring in many places.
</para>

<section xml:id="difference_stallmanism"><info><title>Stallmanism</title></info>

<para>
Proprietary software is legal, but illegitimate and immoral. Manufacturing
and using proprietary software causes a lot of unhappy social and psychological
side-effects. The knowledge that a software cannot be shared causes people
to become reluctant to sharing, which is a natural and good part of living
in a human society. The inability of people to modify software for their
own needs makes them feel helpless, and at the mercy of external software.
</para>

<para>
Free software, on the other hand, is the natural conclusion derived from
the basic facts of information, computing and software, and is highly
moral. People, companies and other organizations can modify it,
customise it and distribute it for their own use should the need arise, and
so it actually benefits them.
</para>

</section>


<section xml:id="difference_raymondism">
<info>

<title>Raymondism</title>
</info>

<para>
Proprietary software is not illegitimate, just problematic from the
economic sense. Open Source software gives many advantages to the end-users
and is a generally a good thing. Copyleft licences may be important in making
sure certain software is not abused. (Note, however that even Raymond
recently voiced
<link xlink:href="http://onlamp.com/pub/a/onlamp/2005/06/30/esr_interview.html">his opinion</link> that the GPL is no longer a wise choice as licence for
new code). It is not immoral to use proprietary
software, it’s just risky. Using or producing software that is not 100%
open-source but pretty close, can be a good idea, depending on its licence
and the general attitude of its developers.
</para>

</section>

<section xml:id="difference_in_for_free_beer"><info><title>In for Free Beer</title></info>

<para>
This approach basically says this:
</para>

<para>
“I like free software because I can get a lot of useful software without
charge. I may like contributing to free software because it helps other
people, makes me happy, and may indirectly benefit me technically or
financially. But proprietary software is perfectly valid as well, if it’s
done right, and I may choose to use it or contribute to it.
</para>

<para>
In short: write code, use whatever tool you wish, and be happy.”
</para>

<para>
The most prominent figure who holds this view is Linus Torvalds, but there
are many others, some of them quite prominent. Such figures, however, tend
to be less loud than the “religious” advocates of the other two views,
and thus it may seem that they are at a minority. Part of the reason is
that many of them inherently tend to value productive coding and decision-making
over advocacy.
</para>

<para>
<emphasis>Note:</emphasis> I have prepared a longer (and unofficial)
<link xlink:href="http://fc-solve.shlomifish.org/oss-fs/in_for_free_beer_manifesto.html">
manifesto for this view</link> which you may wish to consult for further
information.
</para>

</section>

<section xml:id="difference_conclusion"><info><title>Conclusion</title></info>

<para>
While some figures out there prominently stick to either ideology, most
people hold a mixture of the three (or more?) approaches, or are just happy
using free software or contributing to it, without thinking too much about
its philosophy.
</para>

<para>
The terms themselves are used interchangeably by many people. “Open
source” has become more common, partly because free software can mean
software that is given free of charge. (the standard
“free as in free speech” or “free as in free beer” distinction). Moreover,
both the Free
Software Foundation, and the people associated with the Open Source
Institute are on friendly terms with each other and answer questions, give
feedback, and accept contributions, from each other or from people that do
not belong to either camp.
</para>

<para>
Like I said earlier, the fact that some licences would qualify as
open-source and not as free software is usually a negligible fact. While
some esoteric software has been released under custom licences that are
open-source while not being free software, most of the important software
applications out there (and most applications generally started by individuals) is free as
well.
<footnote xml:id="custom_licence">
<para>
It is advisable not to use a custom licence anyhow, as this tends to
confuse users and fellow developers. There are many common licences to
choose from. Check <link xlink:href="http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/license-list.html">the GNU licences list</link> and
<link xlink:href="http://www.opensource.org/licenses/">the list of open source licences</link> for such lists.
</para>
</footnote>
</para>

</section>

</section>

<section xml:id="criteria"><info><title>Other Criteria of Open Source Software</title></info>

<section xml:id="criteria_gpl_compatibility"><info><title>GPL Compatibility</title></info>

<para>
Making a program free is not necessarily enough to make it compatible with
the GNU GPL licence. The GPL makes some restrictions regarding which
licences it can link against, and some otherwise free software is not
compatible with them. Examples for incompatible licences are the Mozilla
Public License, the Qt Public License, and even the original BSD licence. It
is advisable that, whenever
possible, a developer or vendor <link xlink:href="http://www.dwheeler.com/essays/gpl-compatible.html">should choose a licence that is compatible with the
GPL</link>, because otherwise there may be problems integrating his code
with GPLed one or using both a GPL and a non-GPL compatible library. (I am
not a lawyer, so I cannot conclusively say when it is legal or not).
</para>

<para>
<link xlink:href="http://www.mozilla.org/">Mozilla</link> is an example for a large
project that started out with its custom (albeit now relatively common),
non-GPL compatible licence, and recently adopted a triple licence of the
Mozilla Public License, the GNU General Public License, and the GNU Lesser
General Public License in order to make it compatible with the GPL and to
standardise its integrability. The Qt library whose commercial vendor and
originator is <link xlink:href="http://www.trolltech.com/">Troll Tech Inc.</link>,
also had adopted the GPL as well as its own Qt Public License, to
relieve the various legal problems that
<link xlink:href="http://www.kde.org/">KDE</link> (a desktop system for UNIXes which
is based on it) faced when using GPL code.
</para>

<para>
One relatively recent issue with the GNU General Public Licence had been the
formation of Version 3 of both the GPL and the LGPL, which made programs
that were only version 2 of the GPL (and not a later version) incompatible
with those of the GPL version 3 or even the LGPL version 3. While some
programs has been relicensed or sublicensed under version 3 of the GNU
licences, a lot of software packages out there are stuck at being version 2
without an option for a later version, which make them mutually incompatible
with the formerly licensed packages. Such FOSS packages include a large amount
of the code of the Linux kernel, as well as Ghostscript and xpdf, which are
commonly used for rendering the PostScript and PDF standards for
ready-to-print-documents.
</para>

</section>


<section xml:id="criteria_copyleft"><info><title>Copyleft</title></info>

<para>
<link xlink:href="http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/copyleft.html">The copyleft definition</link>
</para>

<para>
Copyleft means that a derived work of a copyleft software, that are not
used for internal or personal use, must include the source code and
released under the same terms of the original work. Copyleft is common in
many licences including the GPL, the Lesser General Public License, the
QPL, etc.
</para>

<para>
Many licences are not Copyleft - most notably the various BSD licences
and MIT/X11 licences. Software released under such licences can be derived
into a proprietary software product by a third party, and often have been.
</para>

</section>


<section xml:id="criteria_sourceware"><info><title>Open Source vs. Sourceware</title></info>

<para>
Not any software application that is accompanied by its source is open source,
albeit many people who are new to the term would be tempted to think that.
It is possible to write non-open-source software while accompanying it with the
source.
</para>

<para>
Examples for such cases are:
</para>

<orderedlist>

<listitem>
<para>
The Microsoft Visual C++ Run-Time Library and the Microsoft Foundation
Classes (MFC), that are accompanied with their source.
</para>
</listitem>

<listitem>
<para>
<link xlink:href="http://www.trilon.com/xv/">xv</link> - a popular
shareware image viewer and manipulator for X-Windows that has been
distributed with its source code. <emphasis role="bold">Note:</emphasis> it is
no longer actively maintained, and its developer can no longer be actively
reached, and so its use is no longer recommended.
</para>
</listitem>

<listitem>
<para>
<link xlink:href="http://www.shlomifish.org/open-source/anti/qmail/">qmail</link> - a popular mail server
whose source code was available and can be deployed free of charge, but its
licensing terms specified that it is illegal to distribute modified binaries
or sources (at least outside the organization) This is enough to make it
non-open-source, but it still had been a very popular program. More recently,
the source of qmail, and several related programs by the same author, were made
public domain, which now makes it open-source software.
</para>
</listitem>

</orderedlist>

<para>
None of these packages qualify as free software, but they are all
accompanied with the source. There are many others around. A quick search
on the <link xlink:href="http://freecode.com/">Freecode directory
of UNIX software</link> will find many such packages.
</para>

<para>
In order for a program to be open-source it needs to be free of various
restrictions as specified in the
<link
xlink:href="http://www.opensource.org/docs/definition.php">open-source
definition</link>. To be free software as well,
it must be also free of some other restrictions.
<footnote xml:id="idf_official_query">
<para>
In a query given by an Israeli Member of the parliament in the past, to an
Israeli Defence Force (IDF) representative about
whether all the software used by the Israeli military is open-source, the
latter interpreted open-source software as software that the IDF has access to
its source. This is an even more radical deviation from the correct meaning.
</para>
</footnote>

</para>

<para>
I believe the term open-source is a bit dangerous in this regard. Then
again, free software may not automatically be associated with freedom and
liberty, so it isn’t perfect either. But I guess finding a description that
accurately describes it in a short space is not very possible, so these
terms will have to do.
</para>

</section>

</section>


<section xml:id="myths_and_issues"><info><title>Myths about Open Source and Other Issues</title></info>

<section xml:id="sharing_and_communism"><info><title>Sharing software huh? Isn’t it a bit like Communism?</title></info>

<para>
This analogy is not new but very deceptive. First of all, there’s nothing
anti-Capitalistic about sharing something voluntarily. While in a
Capitalistic country, goods are generally sold and have to be paid for,
people can
<emphasis>voluntarily</emphasis> dedicate their time and money for any cause
they wish, possibly altruistic.
Communism in fact <emphasis>forces</emphasis> the sharing of all good,
including physical ones that take time and money
to manufacture each unit of.
</para>

<para>
Secondly, because manufacturing and distributing a unit of software costs
practically nothing, it is not necessary that it will be sold. While the
development cost can be very large, a developer of the software will not be
encumbered by it being used by a million people instead of a thousand.
</para>

<para>
Furthermore, by making a software package open-source and keeping it so, it is
possible to gain other economical and psychological advantages: you’ll make
sure it is maintained, gain feedback and admiration of others, and may be able
to eventually receive input and contributions from the outside. Distributing
software as commercial proprietary packages does not automatically
yield good advantages and it takes a lot of time and money to make it
usable as well. Such a vendor is actually risking that his software will
work at all, and not be out-competed by something better.
</para>

<para>
This analogy was rejected and treated in a semi-jokily manner by most people
who did not oppose Capitalism as a whole. A true understanding of why
open-source does not contradict the liberal ideals of Capitalism and
Individualism originated from Eric Raymond’s
<link xlink:href="http://www.catb.org/~esr/writings/cathedral-bazaar/homesteading/">“Homesteading the Noosphere”</link>
and
<link xlink:href="http://www.catb.org/~esr/writings/cathedral-bazaar/magic-cauldron/">“The Magic Cauldron”</link>,
which are a very good read anyway you look at it.
</para>

<para>
The facts themselves do not give way to it either. The free software
movement is almost entirely limited to liberal Capitalistic countries,
which are free enough to allow unrestricted programming and distribution of
software to prosper. Furthermore, I cannot name a single prominent figure
who is Socialist or Communist, or otherwise entirely anti-Capitalistic
(albeit some may hold certain views of this kind). Lastly, open source or
some open source software was recently endorsed by many IT and non-IT
businesses who greatly benefit from it, including some vendors of
proprietary software.
</para>

<para>
Finally, even assuming that free and open source software or
partly-free-and-open cultural works (e.g: the various Creative Commons
licences) have some elements of Communism or Socialism, does it really matter?
After all, we enjoy the fruits of the many people who contributed to open
source, the Wikipedias and other Wikimedia projects and various other free
or mostly free works of culture and code, which would probably not have
happened without them being free. As a result, even if open-source is indeed
communistic or socialistic, it is nevertheless “good for the people” so
to speak and should not be discouraged.
</para>

<para>
All of that put aside, it is clear that copyright laws do not and must not
prevent people from applying not-fully-restrictive (nicknamed
“All Rights Reserved”) licences to their original works, so eventually there
will be enough people who out of either desiring to
<link xlink:href="http://www.shlomifish.org/philosophy/computers/open-source/gpl-bsd-and-suckerism/">“help their
neighbour”
and/or out of motives that have more an aspect of a rational
self-interest</link> and without being forced to do so against their will,
will be willing to release their works under open or semi-open licences.
</para>

</section>


<section xml:id="out_of_work">
<info>
<title>The “Programmers Will be out of Work” because of Free Software Myth</title>
</info>

<para>
It is unlikely that assuming Open Source becomes the dominant
paradigm, it will imply that programmers will “starve to death”. As
<link xlink:href="http://www.catb.org/~esr/writings/cathedral-bazaar/magic-cauldron/ar01s03.html">Eric
Raymond notes in the Magic Cauldron</link>, the vast majority of software
applications out there are one without a sale value: be it software that large
organization like banks, insurance companies or militaries use to power their
critical systems, customizations, scripts or code used within smaller
organizations (Microsoft Access customizations, spreadsheets’ formulae and
macros, Perl or shell scripts),
embedded software whose source code is not released to the public, software
that powers web-sites and was not released to the public, etc.
</para>

<para>
The majority of programmers out there are employed for developing such
code, whose codebase dwarfs that of the marketplace software that
includes all commercial and open-source software put together.
</para>

<para>
In due times, packages are developed and become available that makes some
tasks that were once hard to do internally almost straightforward to set up
and run. Nevertheless, these packages still require a clueful person to
operate, diagnose problems, communicate with the vendor or developer and
manage the configuration. For example, a complete computer beginner will
probably not know what to do with a spreadsheet program (such as Microsoft
Excel) without thoroughly studying it. Afterwards, it becomes a very useful
tool.
</para>

<para>
Even if programmers do become out of job as a result of free software, then
it will not necessarily a bad thing. It means that it solved problems that
otherwise required extra hands, and so those programmers can be allocated
for something else entirely that is more productive.
</para>

</section>


<section xml:id="myths_about_open_source"><info><title>Other Myths about Linux and Open Source Software</title></info>

<para>
One can very often hear many myths or generally accepted “truths” about
open source software and Linux, some of which negative and other positive.
Examples include:
</para>

<para>
1. Open source software is less secure than software whose source code is
not revealed, because people can find bugs at it by looking at the code.
</para>

<para>
2. Open source software is more secure than closed-source software because
more people can review the code and discover bugs in it.
</para>

<para>
3. Linux is harder to use than Windows.
</para>

<para>
4. Linux is not compatible with Windows.
</para>

<para>
5. Open source gives way to forking more easily.
</para>

<para>
And many others. The <link xlink:href="http://www.linuxmafia.com/~rick/myths.html">
    Linux Myth Dispeller</link> attempted to answer some of these, with a
focus on negative myths. Myth
#1 is completely false as bugs can still be found by analysing the
disassembly of the machine code. Also often such bugs are found by accident
due to a certain valid use of the software) There were many closed-source
packages out there in which many bugs have already been discovered. (like
Microsoft Outlook, Microsoft IIS or
<link xlink:href="http://www.shlomifish.org/no-ie/">Microsoft
Internet Explorer</link>). Some of these already became widely exploited a
long time before a vendor patch was made available.
</para>

<para>
Myth #2 has a grain of truth in it. However, some open source packages
nevertheless had very poor security records out of poor programming
practices. Some closed-source offerings, on the other hand, have a very
good security record. In most packages, security bugs occurred due to sloppy
programming practice, or lack of auditing of the code. They can be mostly
avoided whether or not the package’s source code is available to the
public.
</para>

<para>
Myth #5 is not entirely true. While it is possible to fork a piece of
open-source software, most packages have not been actually forked. Eric
Raymond covers the customs that relate to forking a package in
<link xlink:href="http://www.catb.org/~esr/writings/cathedral-bazaar/homesteading/">“Homesteading the Noosphere”</link>, and Rick Moen explains why when
major packages forked, it was not necessarily a bad thing in his <link xlink:href="http://www.linuxmafia.com/~rick/essays/forking.html">“Fear of Forking essay”</link>.
</para>

<para>
Moreover, many times proprietary software was forked as well. There are
many flavours of System V UNIX out there, and there used to be many more.
Microsoft released three different lines of Windows flavours with two or
more simultaneously, and has many localised versions. (Which are many times
incompatible with one another.)
</para>

</section>

</section>

<section xml:id="challenges_to_foss">

<info>
<title>Challenges to Free and Open Source Software</title>
</info>

<para>
Open source appears to be very successful, but as of 2011, there are some
challenges that threaten to undermine it. While it is not probable that
open-source software will completely die as a result, these challenges should
nonetheless be taken into consideration. This section aims to list them.
</para>

<section xml:id="challenges__software_patents">

<info>
<title>Software Patents</title>
</info>

<para>
<link xlink:href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Software_patent">Software
patents</link> are patents that cover algorithms used inside a computer
program, and prevent a competitor from implementing it as well. Software
patents can often be very generic, can be trivial to think about, can have
some prior art upon acceptance, and their cost of issuing and cost of
patent litigation are beyond the reach of most small-time open-source
developers.
</para>

<para>
There have been many cases of patent litigation in the past by large companies,
and there are some companies which consist entirely of lawyers who get hold
of some patents and sue large companies for infringement, hoping to make some
money. The English Wikipedia has
<link xlink:href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Software_patent_debate">coverage of the software patent debate</link>
</para>
</section>

<section xml:id="challenges__copyright_infringement_laws">

<info>
<title>Copyright Infringement Laws</title>
</info>

<para>
Some recent anti-copyright infringement laws such as the notorious
<link xlink:href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_Millennium_Copyright_Act">Digital
Millenium Copyright Act (or “DMCA” for short.)</link> or the more recent
<link xlink:href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-Counterfeiting_Trade_Agreement">ACTA</link>, can be used to prohibit the distribution of some open
source software, such as those that can be used to break the
copyright-protection measures of some content providers.
</para>

<para>
The Electronic Frontier Foundation has published
<link xlink:href="http://www.eff.org/wp/unintended-consequences-under-dmca">a
document titled “Unintended Consequences: Twelve Years under the DMCA”</link>,
which contains a list of “cases where the anti-circumvention provisions of the DMCA have been invoked not against pirates, but against consumers, scientists, and legitimate competitors”.
</para>

</section>

<section xml:id="challenges__licence_proliferation">

<info>
<title>Licence Proliferation</title>
</info>

<para>
Many source code licences were approved as free software or open source
by either the Free Software Foundation or the Open Source Initiative. The
problem is that if one encounters a software package that is distributed
under one of these licences, they will have to become aware of this licence’s
peculiar restrictions. Furthermore, it will be difficult to tell whether it
will be compatible with code under a different licence.
</para>

<para>
As a result, there’s the problem of
<link xlink:href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/License_proliferation">licence
proliferation</link>.
</para>

<section xml:id="challenges__reimplementing_due_to_incompatible_licences">

<info>
<title>Having to reimplement software due to incompatible licences</title>
</info>

<para>
Some licences are known to be incompatible with one another: the GPL version
2 with the GPL version 3 or LGPL version 3, the GPL version 2 with the Apache
License, all versions of the GPL with the original BSD licence, and many
other non-GPL-version-2 or non-GPL-version-3 compatible licences. As a result,
often, a program that is open-source is still unusable, and will have to
be reimplemented.
</para>

<para>
Furthermore, some projects or organisations may consider the software under
Strong copyleft licences, or even weak copyleft licences to be too restrictive,
and will instead opt to rewrite it. Here are some cases of open source code
being made unusable due to problems with their licensing:
</para>
<orderedlist>

<listitem>
<para>
For example, the Free Software Foundation now started the
<link xlink:href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GNU_PDF">GNU PDF project</link>
that is licensed under the GPL version 3,
because all the other Free software PDF projects are GPL version 2
only. So because the GPL was used, the same problem need to
be solved twice.
</para>
</listitem>

<listitem>
<para>
Another case where it happened was <link xlink:href="http://www.osnews.com/story/7241">this story of an the Inkscape set operations patch</link>:
</para>

<blockquote>
<para>

Once before, someone had contributed a patch to add boolean
operations, but that patch relied on a polygon clipping library
provided under an incompatible license. There’s little more
frustrating than having a solution in hand, only to be
hamstrung by legal problems. Even though it was an important
feature for us, we regretfully postponed development of it into
the distant future on our roadmap and proceeded with other
work.

</para>
</blockquote>

</listitem>

<listitem>

<para>
Furthermore, the
<link xlink:href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OpenBSD">OpenBSD</link>
project are now re-implementing a lot of software that is only
available as GPL or similar licences, under BSD-style licences,
due to OpenBSD’s more pedantic licensing policy.
</para>

</listitem>

<listitem>
<para>
The GNU Project had to start working on develop the LGPLed
<link xlink:href="http://www.gnu.org/software/gnutls/">GnuTLS</link>
because the licence of the also open-source OpenSSL library was not compatible
with its GPLv2 and GPLv3 licences.
</para>
</listitem>

</orderedlist>

<para>
Reimplementing source code from scratch due to licence incompatibility is
unfortunate, because open source developers have much more productive tasks
to accomplish in their precious time. As a result, several open-source
developers have opinionated that one should use a simple, non-copyleft and
GPL-compatible licence, such as the MIT/X11 licence for all original
source code, to encourage its reusability.
</para>

<para>
In an O’Reilly Media
<link xlink:href="http://onlamp.com/pub/a/onlamp/2005/06/30/esr_interview.html">interview</link> with him, back in 2005, Eric Raymond (who wrote the “Cathedral
and the Bazaar” and spearheaded the Open Source Initiative organisation)
has voiced the opinion that “We don’t need the GPL any more” and that people
should avoid using that licence for new projects. Naturally, some people still
disagree.
</para>

</section>

</section>

<section xml:id="challenges__copyright_assignment">

<info>
<title>Copyright Assignment</title>
</info>

<para>
Some projects done by companies, or other individuals, require
<link xlink:href="http://lwn.net/Articles/414051/">copyright assignment</link>
on the part of their contributors, so the copyrights will remain under the
same copyright owners, who may then be able to relicense their code under
different terms. Many people have been reluctant to contribute to projects that
require such copyright assignment, because they would like to keep their own
copyrights. As a result, this undermines the
<link xlink:href="#history_open_source">Bazaar
model of development</link> and the atmosphere of community in general.
</para>

<para>
Copyright assignment is a complete non-issue with projects licensed under
permissive licences (a.k.a BSD-styled ones), whose licences allow the copyright
owners, or every other party, to sublicense such a project.
</para>

</section>

<section xml:id="challenges__foss_becoming_unmaintained">

<info>
<title>Open Source Software Becoming Unmaintained</title>
</info>

<para>
There is a risk that open-source packages will become unmaintained, or spin-off
a non-open-source version that will be more actively maintained. This is often
seen as the risk of BSD-style licensed software, but it is not completely
absent with GPLed one (see the story of
<link xlink:href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nessus_%28software%29">the
Nessus Vulnerability scanner</link>). Even if the licence is a copyleft one,
then there’s a risk of the originators of the programs stopping to update
them, and no one stepping up to maintain them instead.
</para>

<para>
This problem is not specific to the FOSS world, because proprietary software
also has become under-maintained or discontinued, but naturally the problem
still exists.
</para>
</section>

<section xml:id="challenges__removing_sesame_seeds">

<info>
<title>The “Removing sesame seeds” syndrome</title>
</info>

<para>
<emphasis role="italics">Joel on Software</emphasis>
<link xlink:href="http://www.joelonsoftware.com/items/2007/09/11.html">describes a situation of eliminating sesame seeds</link>:
</para>

<blockquote>

<para>
In one of Gerald Weinberg’s books, probably
<link xlink:href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/0932633013">The Secrets of
Consulting</link>, there’s the apocryphal story of the giant multinational
hamburger chain where some bright MBA figured out that eliminating just
<emphasis>three sesame seeds</emphasis>
from a sesame-seed bun would be <emphasis>completely
unnoticeable by anyone</emphasis> yet
would save the company $126,000 per year. So they do it, and time passes, and
another bushy-tailed MBA comes along, and does another study, and concludes
that removing another five sesame seeds wouldn’t hurt either, and would save
even more money, and so on and so forth, every year or two, the new management
trainee looking for ways to save money proposes removing a sesame seed or two,
until eventually, they’re shipping hamburger buns with exactly three sesame
seeds artfully arranged in a triangle, and nobody buys their hamburgers any
more.
</para>
</blockquote>

<para>
Such a situation may occur with open-source software or free content resources,
where people gradually eliminate features or text, or introduce more bugs
until the software is too unusable. A prime example for such case
is the so-called <link xlink:href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deletionism_and_inclusionism_in_Wikipedia">”Deletionism”</link> in Wikipedia and other
collaborative online wikis, where people gradually remove pages or parts
thereof that they do not like.
</para>

<para>
Another bad aspect of that is driving away the contributors who donated these
features, who feel demotivated by such an attitude.
</para>

</section>

<section xml:id="challenges__hostility">

<info>
<title>Hostility from Members of the Community to Newcomers</title>
</info>

<para>
Many people in the open-source community are known for their hostility towards
people whom they don’t like. I voiced some
<link xlink:href="http://www.shlomifish.org/philosophy/perl-newcomers/">criticism</link>
of the “usability” of the Perl Online World for Newcomers, and there are similar
sentiments about problems in treating people in the
<link xlink:href="http://tldp.org/HOWTO/Encourage-Women-Linux-HOWTO/">“HOWTO
Encourage Women in Linux” document</link>. I’ve also witnessed how one
very important open-source project, which I was involved in, stagnated,
because its developers were incredibly rude on their on-line forums and scared
away most potential contributors.
</para>

<para>
Such hostility may be detrimental to a project’s success or the success of the
open-source community in general.
</para>

</section>

</section>

<section xml:id="where_i_stand"><info><title>Where I Stand</title></info>

<para>
It is customary in documents of this kind to convey the personal opinion of
the author in this case. This document will not be an exception.
</para>

<para>
I am a user, developer and advocate of free and open-source software. However,
I do not think that proprietary software is inherently immoral or destructive.
I know some vendors of such software abuse their customers. However, I
generally see them as suppliers of goods, which took a lot of time to
develop, and which they perfectly naturally wish to sell for money.
</para>

<para>
The fact that open-source developers develop similar goods and distribute
them for no cost or little cost, under a less restrictive open-source
licence, does not invalidate this fact. I agree with most of what Eric
Raymond said in the “Cathedral and the Bazaar” series, part of which is
that proprietary software is problematic. However, I think that a world
dominated by free software (which I hope to see soon) can exhibit some
proprietary software without it having a generally harmful effect on the
computer world at large.
</para>

<para>
I do not hate Microsoft, just think that their systems are much inferior to
GNU/Linux, which I like better. I still use Windows when I find it
appropriate, or when I need to. (I’m not an “I only use free software”
kind of guy). I realise the superiority of Linux may have stemmed from the
fact it is free software, but otherwise don’t use it only because it is
free software. I just like to work with it better.
</para>

<para>
I don’t see Microsoft or other suppliers of proprietary software as enemies
of the free software movement. I expect that people will continue to buy
some proprietary software even after Linux and free software take over,
assuming they do. I think Microsoft will eventually port their software to
Linux if it gains enough market share. While they may lose the revenue
generated from selling Windows and providing various services for it, I
don’t think they will disappear entirely. And they may be able to find
different revenue streams.
</para>

<para>
Open-source, however, can change the rules of the game, and I believe it
will. In a world dominated by open-source, proprietary vendors must realise
that they need to supply their customers with quality software, listen to
what they say and act upon it, and constantly try to keep it above the
open-source competition. There is no point in hiding the details of the
Specs or protocols, and completely hiding the source code is not as
important as many of them now think. If Microsoft survives in a Linux
environment, we will see a much less abusive Microsoft.
</para>

<para>
My general ideology used to be a variation of “in for free beer”. Use,
code, and be guiltless and happy. A recent encounter with a free for some
uses proprietary software whose licence changed and I became unable to use
it any longer, slightly modified it. In the future, I’ll be more careful in
relying upon proprietary software, because it may become inaccessible to
me, but otherwise still don’t hold the vendors of it as immoral. I still
use some not-entirely-free software because I like it and am used to it or
it gets the job done.
</para>

<para>
My stance regarding the war between the term “open source” and
“free software” is that I use either one when I find it appropriate, and am not
fanatical to either term. It depends on the context of using it, who I
speak to, what I wish to imply, what sounds right, or the first thing that
pops out of my head. I usually prefer saying “Linux” over “GNU/Linux”
because it is shorter, and more snappy and people will understand what I
talk about. I do sometimes resort to “GNU/Linux”, but not very often, and
use the term a “GNU system” even more.
</para>

<para>
The fact I don’t stick to either open-source or free software, stems from
the fact that I respect both the Free Software Foundation, and the Open
Source Institute, and believe that the free software movement and the open
source movement is pretty much one and the same. I also like both terms.
</para>

<para>
I don’t normally refer to Linux as “GNU/Linux” despite the fact that a large
and integral part of it is derived from the GNU project, for marketing
reasons. GNU/Linux is longer than Linux and does not add more information,
just a lot of pseudo-ideology. Add that to the fact that many people will
pronounce it “djee-enn-you-slash-Linux”, when they first see it, and you’ll
get something that makes a very bad marketing name. Here’s a nice quote from
Linus Torvalds on why “Linux” is
superior to “386BSD” (a 90’s BSD clone that was free software as well):
</para>

<blockquote>
<attribution><link xlink:href="http://groups.google.com/group/comp.unix.pc-clone.32bit/msg/80bb74847934edc7">Linus Torvalds</link></attribution>
<para>
<screen>
&gt; &gt; Other than the fact Linux has a cool name, could someone explain why I
&gt; &gt; should use Linux over BSD?
&gt;
&gt; No.  That’s it.  The cool name, that is.  We worked very hard on
&gt; creating a name that would appeal to the majority of people, and it
&gt; certainly paid off: thousands of people are using linux just to be able
&gt; to say “OS/2? Hah.  I’ve got Linux.  What a cool name”.  386BSD made the
&gt; mistake of putting a lot of numbers and weird abbreviations into the
&gt; name, and is scaring away a lot of people just because it sounds too
&gt; technical.
</screen>
</para>
</blockquote>

<para>
Well, the name “GNU/Linux” is a step in the wrong direction in this regard.
</para>

<para>
As a developer, I try to use permissive licences (usually the MIT/X11 licence),
for software packages I develop and distribute. I don’t mind people making a
derived code proprietary much less
integrating it inside proprietary products. If the original code, which I
modify or derive from, is distributed under a different licence, I respect
the original licence, whatever it may be.
</para>

<para>
I used to think that some systems were critical enough to justify GPLing or
LGPLing them. My opinion of all that changed after the entire mess caused
by the enactment of the GPL version 3 and the LGPL version 3, which are
mutually incompatible with the previously released version 2 of the GPL.
I now believe that even if we distaste proprietary software, then copyleft
licences such as the GPL or the LGPL are not worth the trouble and cause
more harm than good. There is a lot of open-source code out there under
permissive licences, and they don’t seem to suffer a lot from it.
</para>

</section>

<section xml:id="references">
<info>
<title>Links and References</title>
</info>



<section xml:id="resources_for_further_reading">
<info>
<title>Resources for Further Reading</title>
</info>

    <section xml:id="ref_resources_gnu">
    <info>
    <title>
    <link xlink:href="http://www.fsf.org/philosophy/philosophy.html">The GNU Project Philosophy</link>
    </title>
    </info>


        <para>
            This is a comprehensive sub-section of the site of the
            Free Software Foundation and the GNU project; it covers its
            philosophy (as put forth by Richard Stallman and others) in
            detail. Several articles from there were references in the site,
            and there are many others of interest.
        </para>

    </section>
    <section xml:id="ref_resources_esr"><info><title><link xlink:href="http://www.catb.org/~esr/writings/">Eric S. Raymond’s Writings</link></title></info>


        <para>
            Contains many interesting articles and writing about Open Source,
            from one of its most prominent figures, including the immortal
            “The Cathedral and the Bazaar Series”.
        </para>
        <itemizedlist>
            <listitem>
                <para>
                    <link xlink:href="http://www.catb.org/~esr/writings/cathedral-bazaar/">The Cathedral and the Bazaar</link> - a document explaining the
                    “Bazaar”
                    way of managing a project.
                </para>
            </listitem>
            <listitem>
                <para>
                    <link xlink:href="http://www.catb.org/~esr/writings/cathedral-bazaar/homesteading/">Homesteading the Noosphere</link> - an analysis of the
                    “ownership” customs of the open-source developers community
                    and their culture in general.
                </para>
            </listitem>
            <listitem>
                <para>
                    <link xlink:href="http://www.catb.org/~esr/writings/cathedral-bazaar/magic-cauldron/">The Magic Cauldron</link> - an analysis of the Economics
                    of open-source.
                </para>
            </listitem>
            <listitem>
                <para>
                    <link xlink:href="http://www.catb.org/~esr/faqs/hacker-howto.html">How To Become a Hacker</link> - a how-to document explaining how to become
                    a “hacker”, an expert and enthusiastic computer developer.
                </para>
            </listitem>
            <listitem>
                <para>
                    <link xlink:href="http://www.tldp.org/HOWTO/Software-Release-Practice-HOWTO/">Software Release Practice HOWTO</link> -
                    explains good conventions in the management and release of
                    an open source software package.
                </para>
            </listitem>
        </itemizedlist>
    </section>
    <section xml:id="ref_resources_joel"><info><title><link xlink:href="http://www.joelonsoftware.com/">Joel on Software</link></title></info>

        <para>
            Joel Spolsky is a veteran software engineer that conveys his
            sometimes unusual views on software management and design in his
            site. Please don’t take them too seriously, because he obviously
            doesn’t either. Not all of his articles are relevant to the topic
            hand and here is a selected few which are.
        </para>
        <itemizedlist>
            <listitem>
                <para>
                    <link xlink:href="http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/StrategyLetterV.html">Strategy Letter V</link> -
                    explains why big companies support open source and what’s
                    in it for them.
                </para>
            </listitem>
            <listitem>
                <para>
                    <link xlink:href="http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/FiveWorlds.html">Five Worlds</link> -
                    explains the differences between the different “worlds”
                    of software development and the rules that apply to each.
                </para>
            </listitem>
        </itemizedlist>
    </section>
    <section xml:id="ref_resources_david_wheeler"><info><title><link xlink:href="http://www.dwheeler.com/">David A. Wheeler’s Site</link></title></info>

        <para>
            A free software consultant and analyst which has many interesting
            pieces of research on his site.
        </para>
    </section>

</section>

    <section xml:id="ref_resources_shlomif">
    <info>
    <title>
    <link xlink:href="http://www.shlomifish.org/philosophy/computers/open-source/">Shlomi Fish’s Essays about Open-Source Software</link>
    </title>
    </info>

        <para>
        With some grain of salt, I refer you to the other essays I have
        written about free and open source software (FOSS). Especially
        of interest is my essay
        <link xlink:href="http://www.shlomifish.org/philosophy/computers/open-source/how-to-start-contributing/">“How
        to start contributing to or using Open Source Software”</link>
        </para>
    </section>

<section xml:id="ref_related_books"><info><title>Related Books</title></info>

    <itemizedlist>
        <listitem>
            <para>
                <link xlink:href="http://www.aw.com/catalog/academic/product/1,4096,0201835959,00.html">The Mythical Man-Month : Essays on Software Engineering</link>
                by <emphasis>Fredrick P. Brooks, Jr.</emphasis> -
                one of the first books on software management by the team leader
                of the OS/360 IBM Mainframe operating system. Despite the fact
                that it was originally written in 1975 , it still contains
                many useful insights on software engineering.
            </para>
            <para>
                The Cathedral and the Bazaar aims to explain how the problems
                raised by this book can be easily resolved.
            </para>
        </listitem>
        <listitem>
            <para>
                <link xlink:href="http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/opensources/">Open Sources: Voices from the Open Source Revolution</link>
            </para>
            <para>
                This book is available online and gives the opinions of many of
                the most prominent leaders of the Free Software and Open
                Source world.
            </para>
        </listitem>
    </itemizedlist>
</section>

</section>

<section xml:id="doc_info"><info><title>Document Information</title></info>

<section xml:id="author"><info><title>Author</title></info>



<para>
Shlomi Fish, <link xlink:href="http://www.shlomifish.org/">http://www.shlomifish.org/</link>
</para>

</section>

<section xml:id="thanks">

<info><title>Thanks</title></info>

<para>
Thanks to Chen Shapira for taking the time to read several early drafts of
this document and provide useful comments. Thanks to Nadav Har’El for
summarising the early history of UNIX and the BSDs for me. Thanks to Richard
Stallman for some factual corrections on earlier versions of this document.
</para>

</section>

<section xml:id="to_do"><info><title>To Do List</title></info>



<itemizedlist>
<listitem>
<para>
Mention some other projects other than Linux and other operating systems. (?)
</para>
</listitem>
</itemizedlist>

</section>

<section xml:id="copyright"><info><title>Copyright</title></info>

<para>
This document is copyrighted by Shlomi Fish under <link xlink:href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/">the Creative Commons
Attribution Unported Licence version 3.0</link>, or, at your option, any
greater version of this licence.
</para>

</section>

</section>

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