Why I am against Open Source

27 February 2016

Updated: Fri 21 May 2021 05:16:13 AM UTC

"The entire point of the GPL is to say 'if you want to take you also have to give back', whereas the permissive licenses say 'take all of my hard work and run with it.' It's like the difference between being a swinger 'I'll let you fuck my wife if you let me fuck you wife' and being a cuck 'I-it's OK, it's not like I needed sex anyway.'"

— Anonymous

I am a Freetard, and I believe in the power of the GNU Project and Richard Mathew Stallman (on most points). Due to this, I have some strong beliefs against Open Source and choose to use "Free Software" instead.

On this page, I hope to explain why I feel this way and persuade you to feel the same.

In sum

  • Open source uses weak, flimsy licenses that don't guarantee that a freely-licensed project will remain a freely-licensed project (see: Windows NTP TC/IP Stack, Intel ME)

  • The Open Source Initiative believes simply that source-published software will (almost) always will result in a superior product. This is not only untrue, but is a completely irrelevant issue to the concept of the Free Software Movement which believes in and advocates for a sociopolitical revolution surrounding the rights of the computer-user. Open Source only believes in this in part, and has made continued claims of the want for a co-existence between Non-Free and Free Software.

So, what do I think?

Oftentimes, I like to compare the BSD vs GPL debate to the political situation of the United Kingdom vs the United States. In the US, we have our Bill of Rights. Though there has been numerous efforts to "reinterpret" certain sections of it, our human rights to say what we wish and defend our person remains.

Meanwhile, in the United Kingdom, there is no declared and unalienable declaration of human rights. The United Kingdom relied on its culture alone and adopted commonwealth law. Now, you see how far the United Kingdom has fallen. It is the Post-Thatcherism Totalitarian Police State you see today: People being arrested for protesting Homosexual Rights over the internet and mass paranoia over 10 year olds with plastic butter knives.

Why is this difference in existence? It is because the United States decided to make an absolute declaration of rights, but the United Kingdom essentially winged it for all this time. Thanks to this, the US is in a better state of Freedom of Humanity than the United Kingdom (though we could be a lot better).

The method of the United Kingdom (the method of commonwealth rights) is a wrong method, and usually creates corruption and oftentimes leads to outlawing what is well-known to be in the Moral and Ethical right (e.g. the right of protest, censorship arrests, and the right to watch media without paying a tax. The passage of The Anti-Social Behavior Act of 1998, as well as The Weapons act of 1999 show the dismal state of the UK's treatment of its citizens.).

The GPL has declared rights of Dos and Don't (ala US Bill of Rights) while the BSD License lacks any protections from forking (ala UK Commonwealth Law).

What about what they think?

The following quotation is from the introductory chapter to the FreeBSD FAQ (Emphasis added):

[...] We believe that our first and foremost "mission" is to provide code to any and all comers, and for whatever purpose, so that the code gets the widest possible use and provides the widest possible benefit. This, we believe, is one of the most fundamental goals of Free Software and one that we enthusiastically support.

Code in our source tree which falls under the GNU General Public License (GPL) or GNU Library General Public License (LGPL) comes with slightly more strings attached though at least on the side of enforced access rather than the usual opposite. Due to additional complexities that can evolve in the commercial use of GPL software, we do, however, endeavor to replace such software with submissions under the more relaxed FreeBSD License whenever possible.

One of the leading distributions of the BSD-family of UNIXes acknowledges my point that the GPL enforces freedom, while the traditional MIT/BSD licenses only allows freedom. See the difference?

Richard Mathew Stallman, founder of the Free Software Movement, has said that Open Source software is (usually) Free Software in practice, not principle. Very rarely will you see an Open Source Project that does not conform to the declared "Four-Freedoms" of the Free Software Movement. This being said, I do not wish to be a part of the Open Source half of this sub-group. will not endorse the BSD, MIT, or other Open Source Licenses. Will I use software licensed under these? Of course! Many good programs are licensed under these licenses. I only wish that they would reconsider this.

You should also evaluate the leaders of these movements. RMS is a Democratic Socialist. While that may be dismissing, he at least isn't some kind of weak person adopting ideals simply due to it being in vogue. While he is these things, he has continued to petition for human rights. His version of Democratic Socialism is not something adopted out of randomness, but after years of philosophical study. While the man has apparently gained dementia within the last decade, and his publicly-made political commentary has become bizarre and estranged, his publicly-made opinions are not too outlandish and are often with merit.

Eric S. Raymond is a Free Software man who helped found the fork to Open Source. ESR is an Anarcho-Capitalist, and proud libertarian. ESR's fork to Open Source is understandable based upon his anarchist view of the world. I would be more inclined to agree with him, but I personally believe in the rebuttal to the Libertarian movement made by Kevin Alfred Strom. That is, Liberterianism is a nice idea (with intense potential) but overlooks many issues that make the entire belief system fall apart in any modern real-world environment. I have heard this referred to as "Lake Wobegon Syndrome" by some (named after the famous fictional small-town city).

Finally, you should look into the esoteric. Uriel, founder of the Random Contratian Institute Organization and creator of 9Front, has frequently called for Open Source over Free Software. Of course, he is more well-known for his strong advocating of the rekindling of the UNIX-Philosophy, but I digress. The late Uriel, an advocate for Ron Paul's RevoLution, saw the GPL as a cancer, and his followers strongly believed that GNU not only aided in the downfall of computer illiteracy but that the GNU Community is software communism, bloat, and the GNU Programmers only care about the license rather than the code quality. Well.... On the point of cancer, I have already stated the need of this type of license. On the point of Computer Illiteracy, it is true that Richard Stallman did want to make a UNIX clone solely because it was the popular system at the time. (It is a common belief that if GNU was founded in 1994 rather than in 1984, GNU would be a Windows Clone.) Since RMS never held sacred the UNIX Philosophy, and only cared about sociopolitical beliefs, he made his GNU Core Utilities rather bloated and un-UNIXy. This is a common complaint by veteran UNIX Programmers. This goes into the final point, however. It is perhaps true that the community once believed in license over code quality. This is an archaic argument though. Now that the GNU Core Utils are pretty much finished, and there is no longer a rush to continue to adopt them, polishing the code is now the apparent goal. So, to the late Uriel I must digress with him on this point. Uriel was therefore mostly right.

Software Communism?

All three of these individuals make the claim that both Free Software and Open Source support the Capitalistic system. I disagree. Rather, I see the concept of Free Software to be one component that flows in well with many forms of political system. The system works well in Capitalism, Anarchism, Communism, Third-Positionism, and what have you. Personally, I find assigning these labels to individual concepts such as Free Software to be petty, but the point must be made to some groups of individuals that Free Software (and Open Source) is not Software Communism.

It is furthermore argued by these outsider individuals that Free Software is communistic, while Open Source is Libertarian. This is also an insane point. Richard Stallman has said time and time again that Free Software supports the Capitalistic industry. In fact, he has made the case that it helps more because it aids in the pursuit of innovation. Open Source seems to make no difference. These issues seem rather petty to myself though.

Such a debate on whether or not the Free Software Movement is communistic, or if the entire FLOSS Community Combined is Marxian in nature is such an old argument that one is tired of defending, forming rebuttal, and engaging in arguments on it. If you wish to read more about the argument, read related topics. However, Free Software is not inherently a political movement, but a Social Movement. One does not claim that the concept of A.T.W.A. is inherently Socialistic, nor Communistic, but it transcends the ideologies. A.T.W.A., like Free Software,is a fundamental truth that does not concern itself with petty politics. You don't need to call it Communism to know to conserve, and you don't need to call it Socialism to have a public commons like the US Post Office. Free Software is a belief in the rights of the computer user, bar none.


Fundamentally, the concept of Free Software is a movement to declare rights of the Computer User. Open Source is an intuitive to support individuals who want to independently release software. Free Software is the right to not only use the computer, but use the computer. Open Source doesn't quite care about this. I believe in the philosophical pursuit of the Free Software Foundation, and am against the pushover method of the Open Source Initiative.

See Also