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Discussion on: Working in Public: how can we solve the problems of open source?

sramkrishna profile image
Sriram Ramkrishna

When I am using social contract - I'm not referring to any guidelines or anything - just the use of an OSI approved license is the social contract that's why I added the license. By using the license, you're saying I'm going to open up my code so that you all can participate. I'm not using a formality as defined by Debian Social contract.

But your comment does not invalidate the difference between Free Software and Open Source - Free Software is a social and political movement - Open Source is not - it is a method of collaborative engineering that involves the programming and non-programming public.

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brandelune profile image
Jean-Christophe Helary

Free software too involves the programming and non-programming public. And that's the whole point. Users are defined as actors in the free software movement, not in the open source development model. As for user licenses they are not "social contracts," they are, well, user licenses, which is an individual contract between a licensor and a licensee.

All that I am saying seems like, and probably is, pointless bickering. I'm honestly happy that people who endorse and participate in "open source" (and name what they do that way, instead of "free software") feel like they participate in something that is bigger than them and is used to better society.

Just back to the original point developed by Emma, I think that a lot of issues encountered by the "open source" movement stem from the fact that it is something that started without a clear value set.

It is good to see that when you reach a critical mass, you need to add values, but "being nice" and "being inclusive" are not "values," they are "protocols." The sooner open source people realize that, the better.

Did you know that emacs development is always concerned about how new code impacts performance on low spec machines ? Fighting for user freedom means that you must ensure that your software runs on very low spec machines, and by doing that you ensure that the machine does not waste too much energy and that is also good for the environment, which is an extension of user freedom.

Having a nice and inclusive open source development process does not automatically lead to produce such outcomes, and, of course, all free software does not go that far, for practical reasons (human resources first, access to test platforms second, etc.) but I hope you understand what I mean.

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sramkrishna profile image
Sriram Ramkrishna

I'm familiar since I am part of a Free Software project - GNOME and have been for 20+ years. So being able to use a machine from use older machines and still make them useful is a great thing and actually reduces our carbon footprint - feel free to check out what my employer is doing in this regard (see the blog series I'm writing)