The point of our work is to spread freedom, not the terms

One of the common arguments in free software communities is a struggle about the terms “Open Source” and “Free (as in freedom) Software”.

I always say that the point of our work is to spread knowledge about the four essential freedoms. I still believe that calling a software that respects the essential four freedoms “open source” is wrong but that’s not what I would argue over.

My point and my goal is to introduce free software and four essential freedoms to people. As long as a person cares about its digital rights, I don’t care what term it uses to call that software.

Open source misses the point of the free software but it’s also respectable as most of the times it spreads the knowledge about these freedoms. The name is important only to spread more knowledge about these freedoms.

Recently, on FSF Community Team, there was a struggle about FSF ways to spread and work about free software. What I believe is that FSF and GNU are working more fundamentally. I believe FSF and GNU are top leaders in the matter of free software and it’s not their job to do technical and detailed work.

I believe what they should do is to guide the community. I don’t see them as owners of the communities, I only look at them as leaders. For sure, their opinions may be different with the community sometimes but it’s completely normal.

Every community knows the best about itself, I have nothing against that but I also believe FSF and GNU are more experienced than any of us and every community can benefit from some of these experiences.

However, I believe FSF and GNU should ask the communities to do an immediate serious action. For example, GNU+Linux, as probably most popular free software in world, lacks some serious stuff.

For example, most people still think/believe GNU+Linux is only for professional technical computer users and they have the right to believe so. It’s 2020, we can’t ask people to run an apt-get every time they want to install something. We can’t ask people to install every dependency manually to run a python script.

For sure there are a lot of great software/apps that are libre, GNU+Linux was just a general example. Action is needed for sure. Without an immediate action, free software won’t ever dominate.

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Ali Reza Hayati

Entrepreneur, hacker, cypherpunk.