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Balancing accessibility and software freedom

Balancing accessibility and software freedom

Posted Aug 5, 2010 20:51 UTC (Thu) by Fats (subscriber, #14882)
In reply to: Balancing accessibility and software freedom by BenHutchings
Parent article: Balancing accessibility and software freedom

I am maybe just a simple non-native English speaking foreigner but to me 'open source software' is much less ambiguous than 'free software'. Sure, the marketing people have probably misappropriated every word in the universe; like the word 'open' in the UNIX/POSIX world is.

greets,
Staf.


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Balancing accessibility and software freedom

Posted Aug 6, 2010 9:10 UTC (Fri) by mpr22 (subscriber, #60784) [Link]

Thing is, I look at the phrase "open source software" and I go "Well, how open is open? What can I do with the source?" - quite simply, it needs almost as much explanation as "free software", and much more than "software libre".

Balancing accessibility and software freedom

Posted Aug 9, 2010 12:37 UTC (Mon) by Fats (subscriber, #14882) [Link]

I'm from Belgium and the other part of my country speaks French. To me the term "software libre" just means "software you may do whatever you want with" or "software without any strings attached". So it would better fit for BSD style open source than for GPL licensed software.
To me, it does not even have to mean that source code is included.

greets,
Staf.

Balancing accessibility and software freedom

Posted Aug 12, 2010 6:28 UTC (Thu) by ekj (guest, #1524) [Link]

True. The specific meaning of open, is subject to interpretation.

But atleast it makes it clear that it is talking about the sourcecode being open -- i.e. oposite of closed, which is definitely the right direction.

Whereas "Free Software" runs the risk of being thought of primarily as in 'for zero cost', and doesn't indicate that it's got anything to do with sourcecode at all.

Thus, imho, both terms are possible to misunderstand, and need some explanation to make clear exactly what is meant. But it's a lot easier to go REALLY wrong with "Free software".

Especially since "zero cost" is the default interpretation most people will choose if presented with "Free [product]" where product is something that often costs money.

"Free icecream" "Free beer" "Free game" "Free entry"

True, the same people choose a better interpretation if free is used in connection with something that isn't seen as a "product" that normally costs money. They do get the right idea if you say "Free elections" or talk about having a "Free press" (not the same as "Free Newspaper")


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