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What has powered open source to become part of 75% of all software and drive nearly €100 bn of GDP in Europe? Reuse, yes. But that was always possible. Collaboration, definitely. But repositories existed for years before open source was coined in 1998. The software freedom philosophy. Absolutely, but that went 15 years without triggering a software revolution. I suggest it's something less measurable and observable — developer confidence — and that the effects involved are stochastic, not deterministic.

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Of the many attributes of software freedom that could move to front-of-mind, it strikes me that the minimal license compliance burdens for open source software users are actually a comparative strength. Having them presented as a dangerous weakness by commercial interests in various contexts (what has been called “the compliance-industrial complex”) applies a “frame” that serves only the detractors of software freedom. No wonder proprietary vendors want to divert our attention! Open source is so much easier!

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Ultimately software freedom is a matter of personal liberty, however it is framed. Whether you describe it as “open source” or “free software”, the goal is for each individual user of software to be self-sovereign in their software and data. Where the privilege of choice is available, this is a matter of consciously choosing liberty, and it is strictly a matter for each individual to make a set of choices — which will necessarily be inter-related.
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