Free Software versus Open Source


Tim O'Reilly and Richard Stallman.
Tim O'Reilly and Richard Stallman, by RedMonk. Great picture!

Personally I don't think either term is ideal. Despite the Free Software Foundation repeatedly telling us "Free Software" refers to liberty and freedom not price, I doubt the typical English use of the word will ever change. "Open Source" as advocated by the Open Source Initiative also isn't ideal given it simply describes the ability of users to view code without mentioning how such code could be used.

I avoid confusion and this debate like many others by simply calling it free and open source software. I do admit I love both movements and value their importance, but frankly we all need to stop this infighting and come up with an all encompassing term.

I guess though one could say one of the points of FLOSS is the ability to fork or create new software when other solutions are licenced too restrictively or don't serve their purpose well, and that this includes terms as well. Who's to say even if we did come up with a term we all agreed upon that we'd agree on it in perpetually?

I'm off to connect to my FreeBSD machine through OpenSSH on my Arch Linux sub-notebook, this argument is making my head hurt!

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