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Re: Open source - Free software

From: Roger Johansson
Subject: Re: Open source - Free software
Date: 27 Sep 2006 23:38:42 -0700
User-agent: G2/1.0

Barry Margolin wrote:

> > "Free Software" is open source.  Free software, like free milk, is
> > something you aren't charged for.  It's a shame they chose such an
> > ambiguous word.

> While it may be a shame, they've been using the phrase for about 20
> years now.  It's become part of the industry lexicon.  Similarly, we
> have the jargon "freeware" that refers to software distributed at no
> cost.

Have you heard the expression "spin doctor". That expression describes
what you seem to be doing.

You talk about the expression "free software" in very authoritative
terms, like "part of the industry lexicon". You describe the word
"freeware" in a derogatory way and call it "jargon".

> So there shouldn't be much ambiguity when the context is
> understood -- we have distinct terms for these different concepts.
> AFAIK, there's no other common term for what is called "free software",

Why not call it "open source software", or GPL or LGPL software, or
public domain software, etc..?

Why do you absolutely want to use the very ambiguous expression "free

I can answer that question myself, actually. You want to use the
expression "free software" for propagandistic purposes, to create and
establish a new linguistic convention.

Even though it is for a good cause it is a less well considered
propagandistic effort, because it causes a lot of irritation and comes
into conflict with the general use of the word "free".

And when open source advocates go even further and want to stop people
from using the word "freeware" because it could be confused with the
expression "free software" which open source advocates have tried to
hijack they are going far too far.

Roger J.

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