Open Source is Dead. Long Live Free Software

I don’t know Matt Asay. I’ve never meet him. I have read a lot of his articles on Free and Open Source software, and he seems to lack a clear understanding of his subject matter, and the English language. Take for instance his recent article Free software is dead. Long live open source.

Mat seems congenitally unable to understand the situation. If it wasn’t for Free Software, Open Source wouldn’t exist at all. He thinks that Free Software is dying. Or rather that’s what he hopes, because he can see the weaknesses of Open Source.

The true weakness of Open Source is it’s lack of an ideology. The only think Open Source ever talks about is seeing the code. That’s not an ideology, it’s a fixation. Even Microsoft has an ideology, that the corporation works steadily towards:

A computer in every home, and Microsoft software on every computer.

I may not agree with Microsoft’s ideology. They may not agree with mine. But Mat, Eric Raymond, and the rest of the “Open Source” gurus have no ideology. And without that, they have no end goal. Apart from possibly Pragmatism which they seem to value for some reason.

And what is pragmatism? Glyn Moody interviewed Richard Stallman back in 1999, and Stallman pointed out that they only reason that the Open Source people have anything to play with, is that the Free Software people did all the spade work. So in Mat Asay’s case, pragmatism is having someone else do all the hard work.

But that’s fine. This is Free Software. We don’t need Mat Asay. We don’t need Eric Raymond. I’d be quite happy to give them to Microsoft, but oh, aren’t they still laying off people while the CEO takes a pay raise?


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