One of the worst arguments for why you should use "open source" and "Linux" as names over "free software" and "GNU/Linux" I've heard yet.

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Jimbob's picture
Created by Jimbob 12 years 4 weeks ago – Made popular 12 years 4 weeks ago
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Jimbob's picture


12 years 4 weeks 4 days 20 hours ago


I use "free software" (and will

I use "free software" (and will continue to do so), but the name "free source" makes more sense to me:

* the word "free" is ambiguous in meaning

* free _software_ is not necessarily free in cost

* the 4 freedoms of the FSF do not really apply to software but to the source code. I.e. the freedoms to use, study, modify and redistribute the source.

* "open source" is not always free as in freedom. I.e. you can look but you can't always use, modify or redistribute.

* "free software" is a term which can easily be abused. I.e. freeware/shareware is often referred to as free software (correctly I might add - just not by the FSF's defn.)

* "open source" is a term which can easily be abused. I.e. software that has the source available for perusal but not use, modification, redistribution.

* software and source code are not the same thing.

* the term "free source", while ambiguous, doesn't cause problems. If the source is free it is both free in cost and liberty. No one can complain "You said it was free and now you are charging me for it" because it is the software not the source that would be charged for.

* the term "free source" can't as easily be abused. Free ware/shareware can't be called "free source". Open source would be open but not free.

* the acronym "FOSS" would still work as a collective name for the two.

* the FSF could change their terms pretty easily all the acronyms would remain the same.

The only problem is no one is going to listen to me and the term isn't going to catch on so I'm just wasting time and bandwidth... :(

underthelinux's picture


12 years 4 weeks 4 days 3 hours ago


... and my TIME, cause i just read

... and my TIME, cause i just read that whole thing. You should put a "this post is pointless" disclaimer at the top!

heckling aside, i think yuo've got a good idea there - I like free source, and FOSS, to be used interchangeably. But i don't know how many people care . Personally, I don't care if my software is open source or not, as long as, $0. I prefer to go with the open source, but that's only for ideology. I've not yet looked at the source for anything (aside from html webpages). Maybe i will some day - but currently, freeware+FOSS are what i'm concerned with.

That's where the zealots here will get picky, and get into all the subtlety regarding components of software that are free, not free, closed, open and etc. Maybe some day your change will happen. There's even ambiguity about this site: FOSSDaily? FWDaily? OSSDaily? jinkies.

daveshields's picture


12 years 4 weeks 3 days 23 hours ago


Thanks for linking to my blog post. Sorry

Thanks for linking to my blog post.

Sorry you don't agree with it but of course that is your call.

I don't mind. I've gotten more views of the post today from this site than from any other.

Keep up the good work,

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