So what was that “social problem” bit about, a few days ago?
Well, to really appreciate what a bunch of arrogant twits the guys from the Church of GNU really are, you have to look no further than their very own website, gnu.org. Among other jewels (some of which I will comment on later), there is this brilliant piece of “why Open Source misses the point of Free Software”, by none less than the great Richard M. Stallman, saviour of the software world. (*cough*)
It goes on to some length about why only Free Software is good software, and why software being free is more important than software that is actually and helpfully working, which is what sets Free Software apart from Open Source software, which considers practicality of software to be its primary function. A Bad Thing, says Stallman. You don’t believe me? I quote, emphasis mine:
Open source is a development methodology; free software is a social movement. For the free software movement, free software is an ethical imperative, because only free software respects the users’ freedom. By contrast, the philosophy of open source considers issues in terms of how to make software “better”—in a practical sense only. It says that non-free software is a suboptimal solution. For the free software movement, however, non-free software is a social problem, and moving to free software is the solution.
Bottom line, you might have produced the finest, most helpful piece of software on the planet, a software that will cure cancer and solve world hunger. Let’s say you give it away including its source code, but in turn demand that the governments of the world pay your rent and groceries, so you can continue your work on an undepletable, clean energy source without having to bother with a nine-to-five job to make a living. The Church of GNU will consider you “a social problem”, because you did not “respect the freedom of the users”.
I am at a loss for words right now, will continue later…