A response to another blogger’s post.

A response to what’s building on this thread

Free software and commercial software are not opposites. Many business distribute free software as part of business activity, hence commercial software includes free software. Free software doesn’t deny anyone “the freedom to conduct commerce”. Proprietary software (which is what you probably meant to say instead of “commercial software”) denies users the freedom to run, inspect, share, and modify the program whenever they want for whatever purpose due to the way in which the program is licensed to the user. These freedoms are more important than profit and do not in any way stop one’s business from making profit. Most proprietors discover that they can’t run their business like Microsoft does because they can’t muscle the world’s governments to stop enforcing the law like Microsoft can.

Yes, RMS is joking with Saint EMACS. It’s a widely recognized bit of humor in an otherwise serious speech. I’ve seen him deliver that bit before and the audiences get it as humorous.

RMS is not a part of “open source” anything–he’s made it very clear that he is a member of the older and (frankly, more principled) free software community. He even wrote an essay on the differences between the two movements. He isn’t advocating for only GPL-covered software. He’s advocating for all published software to be free software which, by the way, is as it used to be (we didn’t have the free software movement then because we didn’t need it, it was our way of everyday computing life and didn’t seem to be threatened until rather recently). Non-copylefted free software licenses give their users freedom and power–the power to deny other users software freedom for derivative works and even verbatim copies. That’s why copyleft is so important–all computer users deserve freedom, not just the ones that get their software from those who choose to distribute free software.

Finally, GNU/Linux is a good name because it gives a share of the credit to GNU and can even spur people to inquire about what GNU is, thus presenting an opportunity to help others better understand software freedom. Linus Torvalds doesn’t advocate for software freedom, he eschews it. He’s in line with open source methodology sometimes and other times just out for his own education. This is fine, he can be a member of whatever movement he wishes and espouse his own ideas on what is valuable. But that should not be the only ideas people come in contact with and it should not represent the GNU Project which has different goals than he does. Whatever objection you have to giving GNU a share of the credit, I’m pretty sure the GNU/Linux naming FAQ has a response for you.