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http://thetuxproject.com

Freedomware is not intended as a term to replace Free Software or Open Source Software aka FOSS, FLOSS. These terms have their niche and place in society. They are well established and we are all better for it.

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Created by dave 12 years 2 weeks ago – Made popular 12 years 2 weeks ago
Category: Philosophy   Tags:
aboutblank's picture

aboutblank

12 years 2 weeks 4 days 14 hours ago

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I don't get this. Is this article

I don't get this. Is this article advocating the relabelling of the term 'free software' as "freedomware" in an effort to gain more understanding with the masses? I think the communication problem is with the people that are trying to communicate user liberty.

Free software is software that gives users four specific liberties http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-sw.html . These four liberties are all about controlling your own computer and helping other people through sharing computer programs. Computer programs that do not allow all four of these freedoms are bad for society as they prevent the user from controlling their own computers (you must have access to the code that directs the computer) and/or they prevent society from helping each other (sharing the computer programs).

With an explanation like this, I don't see how the concept of free software is difficult to push. The problem now lies with people that don't understand related concepts such as the definition of a computer program or why non-free software should be rejected. Many people just don't understand the purpose or definition of a computer program and therefore, will not understand anything about the concept of free software. Other people have stakes in subjugating users through software and so, may oppose any thinking that opposes the non-free software doctrine.

peacemaker's picture

peacemaker

12 years 2 weeks 4 days 51 min ago

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I think it's pretty clear. When

I think it's pretty clear. When I first mention free software to people they always nod has though they know what I'm talking about until I say "...as in freedom". Then they ask questions. That suggests to me that they are thinking of freeware. I think that causes problems, because how many times might they have heard of free software without having someone explain it.

I use the term "free software" but I do think it it is confusing and not everyone has the luxury of having someone sit them down and explain it. "Freedomware" is a much clearer term in that it takes out all the guess work. I also like "free source" because that term doesn't immediately conjure up "freeware" and it's a lot closer to the truth: the source is free; not necessarily the binaries.

aboutblank's picture

aboutblank

12 years 2 weeks 3 days 16 hours ago

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Yes, the term freedomware is not

Yes, the term freedomware is not as overloaded as the term free software and thus, it would help with conveying the idea of software liberty. But if you look in the dictionary for the word free, you'll find only one entry refers to gratis and most of the other the entries refer to liberty. I guess what I'm trying to say is people should be more awareness of the liberty aspect of free rather than the gratis aspect.

> I also like "free source" because that term doesn't immediately conjure up "freeware" and it's a lot closer to the truth: the source is free; not necessarily the binaries.

The source code is just a means to an end. The end is the user's ability to control their computer and society's right to help other people through sharing the tool known as software. You cannot control your computer without access to the programming code that makes up the software because modifying computer-compiled binary code is extremely impractical; you need access to the source code that makes up the binary. The code is important part of free software but what should be emphasized is //our right (as owners of computer hardware) to control our computer AND help others through sharing software// and not the liberty to see the code.

peacemaker's picture

peacemaker

12 years 2 weeks 3 days 16 hours ago

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You might be right about about

You might be right about about the dictionary... but when you say "free" people don't go running for their dictionaries. If you did a survey where you asked people who had not heard of free software to tell you what they thought "free software" was the overwhelming majority would say it is software which is given away. The problem is people are geared to thinking of software as a product and, when products are free, it means the vendor is giving them away. I don't like it; you don't like it. But that's just how it is.

I won't even talk about "open source" because we both know how companies are trying to misuse that term... and it's working.

In your 2nd paragraph, the "end" you're talking about is "free computing" which is different from just "free software". Free computing would involve the freedom to do whatever you want with your computer (hardware and software). Until both the hardware and the software are free and open you can't control the computer 100%. The term "free computing" does not come encumbered with the same ambiguities as "free software".

I'm not 100% sure (correct me if I'm wrong) but I think that the GPL doesn't state that people who distribute GPLed software must distribute binaries for free. I believe it only references sharing the source code. But most distributors, knowing that anyone can just download and compile the source themselves for free, offer the binaries for free too. They could, if they wanted to, sell the binaries, but they would still have to make the source code available for free, so in most cases they don't bother.

Anyway this is getting off track. The point is:

* "free" is ambiguous.
* "freedom" is not.
* the "software" or binaries don't have to be freed
* the "source" must be freed
* "software" is thought of as a product even though it shouldn't be
* the "source" is not thought of as a product but as instructions.

I conclude that "free software" is not the best name to use. IMHO, it should either be called:

* "freedom software" shortened to "freedomware", or
* "free source"

I personally prefer "free source" for the software side of things but "freedomware" would cover free/open hardware too.

However, while there are only two main terms in use, I will stick with "free software" because I'd rather use that than "Open Source". With any luck freedomware or free source will catch on and things will become a lot clearer to people.

aboutblank's picture

aboutblank

12 years 2 weeks 3 days 14 hours ago

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I see you're distinguishing free

I see you're distinguishing free software and free computing. IMO, there shouldn't have to be one. A computer is a device that evaluates mathematical problems. Computers are designed to perform these calculations very quickly. A computer program is a collection of mathematical instructions designed to perform a task or solve a problem; i.e. a person (user) will use the software and will get some useful result from it using it. You use computer software to direct what the computer will compute.

The computer is the servant and the user is the master; the computer exists to serve the user. The computer program is the list of orders that the computer will fulfill; the computer will do only what it is ordered to do. If the user finds that the computer is not doing something properly (assuming that the hardware and the user inputs are not faulty), then the user should get the computer's programming changed.

Computers and software are tools to perform tasks. The end is the fulfilled task(s). If a task isn't being fulfilled correctly then something has to be changed. Computer hardware is not trivial to modify compared to modifying source code. This is why access to the code is needed AND 'the end' is 'the right to control our own computer'. We shouldn't have to put up with tools that only partially fulfill our requirements.

The right to control your computer also is reason why treacherous computing and digital restrictions mismanagement is so dangerous - they remove that right from the user. A computer should be the user's servant and not the servant of the vendor.

peacemaker's picture

peacemaker

12 years 2 weeks 3 days 12 hours ago

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> I see you're distinguishing free

> I see you're distinguishing free software and free computing. IMO, there shouldn't have to be one.

Yes but only in that free software is a component required for free computing. The other component being free hardware. You can't get the software to control the computer 100% unless the specs for the hardware are open too.

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braydon

11 years 51 weeks 2 days 9 hours ago

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i don't like it, freedomware? blah

i don't like it, freedomware? blah

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