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ESR: Terminology Wars: A Web Content Analysis

Jul 05, 2004, 22:00 (19 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Eric S. Raymond)


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"I collect statistics on the Web usage of the terms 'open source' and 'free software,' and show evidence for the following:

  • "Among software developers and in the technology trade press, use of the term 'open source' dominates use of the term 'free software' by 95%-5% or more.
  • "On the general Web, the ratio is 80%-20% or more.
  • "The gratis/libre ambiguity in the term 'free software' produces about an 80% false-positive rate in Web searches.
  • "Use of the term 'free software' is in long-term decline, and older or obsolete pages form a larger part of its share than for 'open source.'

"In this paper I take no position on what I believe should be the case or what terminology pepple should use, I simply report what is..."

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