People get confused because almost since day one Linux has been licensed under the GPL, which has been around since the 1980s and is probably the most well known open source license of them all. Until 1998, however, when the Open Source Initiative defined and coined the phrase "open source software," the GPL was considered to be a "free software" license -- a term that's still preferred by Richard Stallman, the license's author, as well as a sizable community of free software proponents.
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