By Dave Whitinger ([email protected]):
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
Richard Stallman observes that it has, “set aside the spirit of
principle that had motivated the free software movement and the GNU
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
What to do? I’d love to get some feedback on this.