FSF Responds to LinuxWorld in Boston
Well it's always nice to have people come visit, and it's no different when IDG's LinuxWorld comes to town. We had big smiles on our faces at the FSF office recently, when journalists called to ask for our reaction to the LinuxWorld announcement, that they were coming to Boston in part because it was the birthplace and headquarters of the Free Software Foundation---which launched the Open Source Movement?
Why? Why do we get this constant repackaging of what we stand for? And always from organizations who by now should know better. Heaven knows we've explained it often enough, haven't we? When was the last time you heard the advocates of Open Source being asked to make a reference to the fundamental ethical and political issues of Freedom in Software. Never, because Open Source plays to the media interests that require a sanitized version of what the real drivers were behind the birth of a GNU/Linux world.
It seems that some words are hard to say, and some would have us give in to their limiting Orwellian speak. Well tough, it's the Free Software Movement; listen up, because you're in Freedom's home town.
Boston famously has a red brick trail mapped out across its streets, called the Freedom Trail, linking many of the American Revolution's most historic sites. No doubt many visitors to Boston's LinuxWorld will walk this Freedom Trail at some point this week, and we invite them to pop in and say hello, thereby creating an unofficial stop on Freedom's Trail. This could also be a visitor's last chance to see what has been FSF's home for the past 10 years. We receive many visitors each month, cameras in hand, who want to see the reality behind the opening lines of the GPL:
"GNU GENERAL PUBLIC LICENSE
Version 2, June 1991
Copyright (C) 1989, 1991 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
59 Temple Place, Suite 330, Boston, MA 02111-1307 USA
Everyone is permitted to copy and distribute verbatim copies
of this license document, but changing it is not allowed."
As of May 1, 2005 we will have a new home in Boston, and therefore new opening text for the GPL. Interestingly, our new location is on the site of the original Catholic Cathedral of Boston, and the building has a chapel commemorating this.
We fully expect mail addressed to Saint IGNUcius at the Church of Emacs to still find its way to us.
Peter T. Brown
Executive Director, Free Software Foundation