13 votes

Don't sacrifice the right ideas to win the right words

5 comments

  1. [4]
    skybrian
    Link
    On the other hand, I think "open source" having an official definition is a good thing and attempts to water it down to "source available" by people who don't know or don't care should be argued...

    On the other hand, I think "open source" having an official definition is a good thing and attempts to water it down to "source available" by people who don't know or don't care should be argued against. Based on what he has written on Hacker News, I think Drew Devault believes similarly?

    It's a bit surprising to see him take the other side here. Probably good tactics, though.

    1 vote
    1. [3]
      Adys
      Link Parent
      Source Available is much more distinct though. Unity3d is Source Available for example, but nobody would ever argue it's Open Source. I don't think that's a battle anyone lost, although it may be...

      Source Available is much more distinct though. Unity3d is Source Available for example, but nobody would ever argue it's Open Source. I don't think that's a battle anyone lost, although it may be confusing for some people who don't understand the very concept of a license. (Yeah, I've met my fair share of those, even in enterprise, but in the end they don't matter because the money-men and lawyers actually set them straight)

      1. [2]
        skybrian
        Link Parent
        Maybe not for Unity3d, but people have tried to argue this, saying that the meaning of "open source" is based on common usage, so if they use it for source available then we should just give in. I...

        Maybe not for Unity3d, but people have tried to argue this, saying that the meaning of "open source" is based on common usage, so if they use it for source available then we should just give in.

        I don't think it works, but I'm looking for a principled reason for when we should hold the line on clear definitions versus being a descriptivist and going with the flow. Stallman has always been on the pedantic side, but why do we think it's wrong in that case and not in others?

        1. Axord
          Link Parent
          I think the spirit of the piece isn't about wrongness or rightness, but effectiveness. You have a limited amount of persuasion points to spend. Do you: A. Try to correct someone's use of terms B....

          I think the spirit of the piece isn't about wrongness or rightness, but effectiveness.

          You have a limited amount of persuasion points to spend. Do you:

          A. Try to correct someone's use of terms

          B. Try to convince them about ideas

          IMO, accuracy of terms only matters to the extent that it makes talking about ideas more efficient.

          5 votes
  2. jgb
    Link
    This is pretty accurate. Even if your interlocutor is a reasonably intellectually curious person, you will still be able to watch their eyes glaze over in real time if you barrage them with 'free...

    This is pretty accurate. Even if your interlocutor is a reasonably intellectually curious person, you will still be able to watch their eyes glaze over in real time if you barrage them with 'free software' and 'open source' and 'libre' and GPL and MIT and Tivoization and 'free as in free speech'.

    Focus on the intuitive principles. You want your bicycle to be mechanically elegant and have its mechanisms be freely accessible and maintainable with a set of standard allen keys. If you want to add a bottle cage, or switch to a bigger chainring, or replace the brake pads, there should be no unnecessary roadblocks to you doing so. You should expect the same of your software. That's basically all there is to libre software.