Rejected By Eric Raymond!
The Free World Licence has effectively been rejected as "Open Source" software by Eric Raymond because it does not satisfy the ten rules defined on the Open Source Definition page. So I think the rejection means it's appropriate for me to display this "Rejected by Eric Raymond" logo (which I specially created for this web).
The Free World Licence breaches at least the following Open Source Definition rules.
The license must not discriminate against any person or group of persons.
In October 1999, correspondents of the Open Source mailing list for the discussion of the certifiability of new licences asserted that The Free World Licence breaches this rule because it discriminates against users of non-free platforms.
The rights attached to the program must not depend on the program's being part of a particular software distribution. If the program is extracted from that distribution and used or distributed within the terms of the program's license, all parties to whom the program is redistributed should have the same rights as those that are granted in conjunction with the original software distribution.
In October 1999, correspondents of the Open Source mailing list for the discussion of the certifiability of new licences asserted that The Free World Licence breaches this rule because the rights in the use of the software do not survive the transition from a distribution from a free-platform distribution to a non-free platform distribution.
It was also asserted that The Free World Licence breaches clauses 6 and 9 too.
This analysis and conclusion means that The Free World Licence should not be referred to as an "Open Source" licence. While it is legal to do so (because Open Source has been found to be too general a term to be trademarked in most countries), it seems inappropriate to do so, given that there has been such a concerted effort to create the term "Open Source" and bind it to the Open Source Definition.
My personal opinion is that The Free World Licence is sufficiently open, and that the Open Source Definition should embrace it somehow. In particular, if the free software movement believes its own rhetoric about free software taking over the world, then it should have no problem with The Free World Licence because if, in the future, all platforms are free, The Free World Licence will impose no practical restriction at all! From this perspective, The Free World Licence may be viewed as a transitory licence designed to ease the conversion from proprietary to free-software business models, not as the enemy of freedom. :-)
One can also raise the argument that The Free World Licence is more strategically sound than other free software licences. If all free software existed under The Free World Licence, then the free-software functionality would not add value to the proprietary platforms, and this would increase the relative competitiveness of the free platforms, which in turn would build pressure for users to convert to free platforms. A counterargument is that free software should be allowed to compete with proprietary software on non-free platforms and that exposing proprietary-platform users to high-quality free software encourages them to find out more and eventually switch to a free platform. In the end, the side of this argument that you take depends not on your loyalty to free software, but on whether you think it is strategically more important for free software to attack non-free software at the platform level or the application level. That this issue appears to have no obvious resolution suggests that The Free World Licence should not be clobbered for the particular stand it takes.
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