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Re: [OT] free software vs open source was: Re: codesearch.el 1.0 --- Sea

From: Tim X
Subject: Re: [OT] free software vs open source was: Re: codesearch.el 1.0 --- Search for code via Google Code Search
Date: Sun, 01 Jul 2007 13:37:44 +1000
User-agent: Gnus/5.11 (Gnus v5.11) Emacs/22.1.50 (gnu/linux)

Richard Stallman <address@hidden> writes:

>     From what I've read I'd expect
>     that free software is a subset of open source software (i.e. not all open
>     source software is free in the sense that it protects our freedoms).
> That looks like a common misunderstanding, based on confusing "free"
> with "copyleft".  A license is a free software license if it respects
> the four freedoms.  Copyleft licenses go further and defend the four
> freedoms.  However, there are non-copyleft free software licenses,
> including the original BSD license, the revised BSD license, and the
> X11 license.  See for
> more info.
> Free software and open source are the names of two philosophical
> camps.  The free software camp is concerned about freedom; the open
> source camp says it is not important.  By choosing the term "free software"
> we direct attention towards issues of freedom.  That is very important.


thanks for the clarification. Essentially, I agree. My only concern is that old
problem of the understanding of 'free'. The vast majority of people I hear
using the term 'free software' are almost always talking about free of cost
rather than free as in freedom. 

My main concern in this current instance was that stating that the utility
indexed free software rather than open source software may give end-users the
mistaken impression that it only finds/indexes free software. As you point out
in another post, there is no guarantee that the code indexed by google is free,
open source or even legally accessible. Therefore, my concern is probably more
pedantic than anything (though I do wonder if there is a danger people will
just see free software and open source as inter-changeable terms, but we do
have to start somewhere).

Given the multiple interpretations of free, did the FSF consider alternative
terms that may have less ambiguity or put more emphasis on defending the four
freedoms or was free simply the simplest/best alternative that didn't create
other conetations or fears? Up until 'freedom fries', I always thought freedom
software might have been a better descriptor (though I can understand the
difficulty of selecting a name without unwanted 'baggage' - in my trips to the
US I have noticed that some terms we use in Australia have additional implied
meaning that they don't here, often relating to fears of communism/socialism
and ironically, loss of freedom it seems. 

tcross (at) rapttech dot com dot au

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