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Re: [libreplanet-discuss] libreplanet-discuss Digest, Vol 61, Issue 35

From: Andrew A. Adams
Subject: Re: [libreplanet-discuss] libreplanet-discuss Digest, Vol 61, Issue 35
Date: Fri, 20 Mar 2015 13:02:13 +0900

"Open" has as many problems as "free" in English (other languages have 
different problems).

In education, "open" has been used to mean both "free as in speech" for "Open 
Educational Resources" and "free as in bheer" for "Massive Open Online 

Trying to re-define "free software" in the minds of the general public to 
mean software which preserves freedom is, in my opinion, a lost cause, 
unfortunately. The normal meaning of free in English encompasses both libre 
and gratis and trying to get people to restrict their usage to libre, when 
they're more used to gratis is highly unlikely to work. Unfortunate, but I'd 
rather use a less familiar term with fewer "ordinary usage" overloadings - 
trying to explain software freedoms and why they matter is hard enough 
without starting people off with a confusion between what FSF-types call 
"free software" and what most people understand as "free software".

I have some interesting results from a survey of Japanese, Korean and Chinese 
subjects about what they believe they know about Free Software, and what it 
is. Many people think they understand what "Free Software" means, but their 
answers as to what pieces of software are "free software" bizarrely includes 
things like Microsoft Windows and Office (proprietary, non-gratis), Adobe 
Acrobat Reader (proprietary, gratis) and LibreOffice (libre, gratis).

Professor Andrew A Adams            
Professor at Graduate School of Business Administration,  and
Deputy Director of the Centre for Business Information Ethics
Meiji University, Tokyo, Japan

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