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    • The transition from open to proprietary software and the subsequent evisceration of university programming departments angered Stallman. The very culture of innovation driving his work was disappearing.

      "’I was faced with a choice. One: join the proprietary software world, sign the nondisclosure agreements and promise not to help my fellow hackers. Two: leave the computer field altogether. Or three, look for a way that a programmer could do something for the good. I asked myself, was there a program or programs I could write, so as to make a community possible again?’" (6)

      • Stallman created the Free Software Foundation. The term free has two definitions – free as in monetary, or free as in free of speech. Stallman uses the second definition: "Free software is a matter of the users’ freedom to run, copy, distribute, study, change and improve the software." Free software has four freedoms:

        • The freedom to run the program, for any purpose (freedom 0).
        • The freedom to study how the program works, and adapt it to your needs (freedom 1). Access to the source code is a precondition for this.
        • The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor (freedom 2).
        • The freedom to improve the program, and release your improvements to the public, so that the whole community benefits (freedom 3). Access to the source code is a precondition for this. (7)

    • "The fundamental difference between the two movements is in their values, their ways of looking at the world. For the Open Source movement, the issue of whether software should be open source is a practical question, not an ethical one. As one person put it, “Open source is a development methodology; free software is a social movement.” For the Open Source movement, non-free software is a suboptimal solution. For the Free Software movement, non-free software is a social problem and free software is the solution." (13)

    • Open Source is developed in groups with high levels of contact between software users and developers. Users report bugs, request features, and provide solutions throughout the development process. The process is very transparent – a blurring of software creator and user. Free Software, on the other hand, is generally developed by smaller groups of highly skilled programmers (which prompted Raymond to classify the Free Software development model as cathedrals "carefully crafted by individual wizards", and Open Source as a "great babbling bazaar of differing agendas and approaches").

    • This open/proprietary debate is spilling over into all areas of the digital world. RIAA is requesting greater restrictions to digital content use, Microsoft is creating software that has increased limitations for users (and greater control for the software creators), etc.

      The debate has been incorrectly labeled as an issue of intellectual property and theft (though this component certainly exists). The real debate is on a level that expresses views of how society is to be organized, how power is to be distributed, which types of resources should be free (not in a monetary sense), what are the obligations of content creators to users, and what are users options to build on, improve, and incorporate content developed by others.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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