Collecting FOSS Philosophy readings

This thread is looking for articles pertaining to FOSS Philosophy. If you do contribute, it’d help to write a sentence or two about what the article discusses and if applicable, relevant context (e.g. it being in response to something). Please try to keep any context you add unbiased as much as possible to allow the reader to decide their own opinions on it (and along with that, please take discussions of ideas from articles to other threads).

Special shout-out to @deejoe since I’ve gotten a lot of these readings from him.


The Internet Was Built on the Free Labor of Open Source Developers. Is That Sustainable?
As @deejoe put it, “a not-bad general backgrounder on FOSS”. Includes info on history & economics. Also references Nadia Eghbal’s Roads and Bridges, which we read in HFOSS.

A Quick Guide to GPLv3
A look at GPL & the Free Software Foundation’s definition of freedom.

What is free software?
The definition of “free [as in freedom] software” from the GNU Project.

Definition of Free Cultural Works
Like “free software”, but for art and similar.

Debian Social Contract
Debian’s “Social Contract” & “Free Software Guidelines”

Open Source Definition
Definition of “open source” from the Open Source Initiative (OSI).

OpenBSD Copyright Policy
A BSD take on licensing; sample of permissive value set. Also provides the project’s view on how its license works with/against other licenses.

The Evolution of Open
Discusses code openness vs community openness. Falls under “new” FOSS ideology.

Free as in Health Care
Idea of “freedom from” in addition to “freedom to” and responsibility of the programmer(s) making software. Falls under “new” FOSS ideology.

Programming is Forgetting: Toward a New Hacker Ethic
Talks about ethics in programming, including a section that looks at some “old” (per say) FOSS/Hacker ethics. Falls under “new” FOSS ideology.

Contributor Covenant
A take on social openness. The implementation of the Contributor Covenant has been controversial, but it’s still relevant to open source, particularly in the last year or so.