Proposal for TWO official releases
maartens at xs4all.nl
Fri Apr 19 14:15:56 UTC 2002
Hello Cees and Göran,
Göran wrote (replying to a mail from Cees I can't find on my computer for
--- begin quote
cg at cdegroot.com (Cees de Groot) wrote:
> Maarten Maartensz <maartens at xs4all.nl> said:
> >Third, as G=F6ran possibly rightly remarks, in specific refined senses of
> >"free software" and "open source", Squeak is or may not fully qualify - by
> >the wordings or interpretations of FSF, OSI and DFSG (which may or may not
> >be mine, and have their special reasons and ends, as Squeak's licence arose
> >for specific reasons).
> These interpretations are what the majority of users seems to accept.
> Therefore, it is dangerous to deviate from these definitions if only to
> avoid the impression that you're playing fast and loose with these terms
> just in order to 'ride the wave'. Better to be conservative in your
> words here.
> >My own conclusion is more simply that Squeak IS free software and IS open
> >source - AND comes currently with its own special licence, which indeed
> >does deserve explanation.=20
> No, it is NOT free software. I cannot give it to my friends in Libya or
> Iraq, for example. In fact, it is the US government that decides who I
> can share it with. If there's one government in this world that I don't
> trust to make these judgements, it's the dorks occupying the District of
> Columbia (especially now they've put one of the most pathetic examples
> of their species in the driver's seat).
Hehe, Cees is warming up! :-) Even though Cees wordings might upset some
of our friends on the other side of the Atlantic I must say I agree. I
also understand your viewpoint Maarten but the Squeak community is a
member of a much larger community - the community of "free/open
software" (damn, I want a new loose term for that). And that community
has been working hard to explain and evolve the licenses and concepts we
are talking about, and they really want us all to keep these
distinctions clear. One reason is that it might actually affect outcomes
of proceedings to come ("Hey, but they say THAT stuff is open source,
and this guy over there says HIS stuff is open source - so I thought I
could do THIS.").
> >This seems a little bit too much like saying Squeak cannot be called
> >"revolutionary technology" as MS is not pleased to call it so.
> The difference is that these particular terms stem largely from the hacker
> community itself, have been under scrutiny and discussion for almost two
> decades, and have wide acceptance. I'm a techie, I don't like playing
> fast and loose with well-accepted definitions - that's what they have
> invented marketing departments for and that's bad enough already.
I tend to agree. But sure - we can always tweak the language a bit. "The
license of Squeak is very free, all source is included and for most
aspects the license is similar to the BSD license." Or something like
-- end quote
I don't have any friends in Lybia, Iraq or North Korea (and surely those
who have access to the internet there and don't need to fear their local
secret service can also download Squeak), and I much doubt Cees can supply
a long list with his Squeak-hungry but Squeak-denied friends in these places.
Next, the US goverment does NOT decide these things: It would like to
interfere with certain things going to certain places, but with the
internet-as-is that's merely a pious hope.
Göran does understand my point when he wrote:
"I also understand your viewpoint Maarten but the Squeak community is a
member of a much larger community - the community of "free/open
software" (damn, I want a new loose term for that)."
Precisely - and my point is (1) that the adjectives "free" and "open" apply
naturally to Squeak-as-is, as qualifiers of respectively "software" and
"source" and (2) that one should not give up on using these perfectly
proper and common English adjectives because others sometimes use these
terms (for quite respectable reasons) in legalistic ways of their own.
It is precisely because I perceive that "the Squeak community is a member
of (..) the community of "free/open software" that I wish to insist that
Squeak IS free and open, is intended to be free and open - and for
historical reasons comes with its own special license to enable this. And
there are several other licenses with the same intent, and unfortunately at
present these different licensing policies differ about their precise
specific meanings of "free" and "open" for the types of software they apply
Then, when Cees writes that "that these particular terms stem largely from
the hacker community itself" he seems to forget that (1) the general agreed
upon sense of "free" and "open" is one thing; their currently received
legalistic meanings something else and that (2) "the hacker community
itself" is divided on these diverse legalistic meanings, no doubt for
mostly good (legalistic) reasons - which is why there are different
But all of this doesn't change anything about the facts about English: If
you say "free software" most speakers of English will take you to mean
"gratis" and if you say "open source" most speakers (who know about source
code) will take you to mean "source included". It is these ordinary
meanings of these adjectives I also want to use for Squeak, while agreeing
that there are diverse legalistic meanings of these terms, and while
agreeing that Squeak should contain in its official image a clear
explanation of the precise licensed legal sense in which Squeak is free and
open, and how and why that precise sense differs a tad from the precise
legal senses of others.
So when Göran writes "we can always tweak the language a bit. "The license
of Squeak is very free, all source is included and for most aspects the
license is similar to the BSD license." " I find this far better than
Cees's original "almost open source" or "almost free", for reasons I
Anyway - my reason to write about these usually not very profitable
discussions of usage and meaning is that it seems to me important to be
able to say, in ordinary non-legalistic English, that Squeak DOES belong to
(in Göran's words) "the community of "free/open software" ", and to leave
the precise legal qualifications to a clear explanation of Squeak's
license, that should come as a standard part of Squeak's official image.
Maarten Maartensz. Homepage:
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