1998-02-10 - Open Source Software - Proposal (fwd)

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From: Jim Choate <ravage@ssz.com>
To: cypherpunks@ssz.com (Cypherpunks Distributed Remailer)
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Message ID: <199802101637.KAA02458@einstein.ssz.com>
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UTC Datetime: 1998-02-10 16:35:18 UTC
Raw Date: Wed, 11 Feb 1998 00:35:18 +0800

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From: Jim Choate <ravage@ssz.com>
Date: Wed, 11 Feb 1998 00:35:18 +0800
To: cypherpunks@ssz.com (Cypherpunks Distributed Remailer)
Subject: Open Source Software - Proposal (fwd)
Message-ID: <199802101637.KAA02458@einstein.ssz.com>
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>From ravage@ssz.com Tue Feb 10 10:35:27 1998
From: Jim Choate <ravage@ssz.com>
Message-Id: <199802101635.KAA02425@einstein.ssz.com>
Subject: Open Source Software - Proposal
To: users@ssz.com (SSZ User Mail List)
Date: Tue, 10 Feb 1998 10:35:25 -0600 (CST)
Cc: friends@ssz.com (Ravage's Friends), stugreen@realtime.net
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> X-within-URL: http://earthspace.net/~esr/open-source.html

>    After the Netscape announcement broke in February early 1998 I did a
>    lot of thinking about the next phase -- the serious push to get "free
>    software" accepted in mainstream corporate America. And I realized we
>    have a serious problem with "free software" itself.
>    Specifically, we have a problem with the term "free software", itself,
>    not the concept. I've become convinced that the term has to go.
>    The problem with it is twofold. First, it's confusing; the term "free"
>    is very ambiguous (something the Free Software Foundation's propaganda
>    has to wrestle with constantly). Does "free" mean "no money charged?"
>    or does it mean "free to be modified by anyone", or something else?
>    Second, the term makes a lot of corporate types nervous. While this
>    does not intrinsically bother me in the least, we now have a pragmatic
>    interest in converting these people rather than thumbing our noses at
>    them. There's now a chance we can make serious gains in the mainstream
>    business world without compromising our ideals and commitment to
>    technical excellence -- so it's time to reposition. We need a new and
>    better label.
>    I brainstormed this with some Silicon Valley fans of Linux the day
>    after my meeting with Netscape (Feb 5th). We kicked around and
>    discarded several alternatives, and we came up with a replacement
>    label we all liked: "open source".
>    John "maddog" Hall and Larry Augustin, both of the Linux International
>    Board of Directors, were in on the brainstorming session (though
>    interestingly enough the term "open source" was suggested by
>    non-hacker Chris Peterson, observing for the Foresight Institute).
>    Linus Torvalds himself approved it the following day. And it isn't a
>    Linux-only thing; Keith Bostic likes it and says he thinks the BSD
>    community can be brought on board.
>    We suggest that everywhere we as a culture have previously talked
>    about "free software", the label should be changed to "open source".
>    Open-source software. The open-source model. The open source culture.
>    The Debian Open Source Guidelines. (In pitching this to corporate
>    America I'm also going to be invoking the idea of "peer review" a
>    lot.)
>    Bruce Perens has volunteered to register "open source" as a trademark
>    and hold it through Software in the Public Interest. And RMS himself
>    has said he'll use the term (though not exclusively) as long as the
>    Open Source Definition Bruce is working up isn't weaker than the
>    Debian Free Software Guidelines.
>    And, we should explain publicly the reason for the change. Linus has
>    been saying in "World Domination 101" that the open-source culture
>    needs to make a serious effort to take the desktop and engage the
>    corporate mainstream. Of course he's right -- and this re-labeling, as
>    Linus agrees, is part of the process. It says we're willing to work
>    with and co-opt the market for our own purposes, rather than remaining
>    stuck in a marginal, adversarial position.
>    It's crunch time, people. The Netscape announcement changes
>    everything. We've broken out of the little corner we've been in for
>    twenty years. We're in a whole new game now, a bigger and more
>    exciting one -- and one I think we can win.
>      _________________________________________________________________
>    Back to Eric's Home Page Up to Site Map $Date: 1998/02/10 03:55:36 $
>     Eric S. Raymond <esr@snark.thyrsus.com>