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Free Software, Open Source? I like "Free Source"

Feb 22, 1999, 00:18 (21 Talkback[s])

By Dave Whitinger (dave@linuxtoday.com):

Can't we get the best of both worlds?

I hear Richard Stallman's fine arguments for using the term "Free Software" and listen with interest as Eric Raymond advocates the "business-friendly" term Open Source(tm).

The term "Free Software" carries a significant amount of baggage, thanks to the era of crummy software produced for the DOS-based operating systems and given away to the public domain, although usually without source code or free licensing.

The term "Open Source" has, according to Bruce Perens, "de-emphasized the importance of the freedoms involved in Free Software."

Richard Stallman observes that it has, "set aside the spirit of principle that had motivated the free software movement and the GNU project".

What to do? How long should we continue to fight amongst ourselves, while confusing the computing community which so desperately needs to fully understand our message.

I suggest "Free Source".

This is a self-defining phrase, accurately describing exactly what the community holds dear:

freedom, and complete open-ness.

And, as an added benefit, it does not carry around any baggage from another era.

Another benefit is that, as it is a new phrase and not to be confused with any earlier ideas carrying the same name, people will be interested in learning what it means, rather than forming a pre-judgement based on earlier experiences.

What to do? I'd love to get some feedback on this.

- Dave