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Re: Open source - Free software

From: Chris
Subject: Re: Open source - Free software
Date: Thu, 28 Sep 2006 10:19:10 +0100
User-agent: KNode/0.9.2

Barry Margolin wrote:

> In article <>,
>  Al Klein <rukbat@pern.invalid> wrote:
>> On Wed, 27 Sep 2006 13:18:14 -0400, Barry Margolin
>> <> wrote:
>> >I think it is.  Note that I was talking about "free software", the
>> >term coined by Richard Stallman and the Free Software Foundation,
>> >not "freeware", which is just software you don't have to pay for.
>> "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.  

However, if you're not part of the 'industry' then the term 'free
software' is still ambiguous as it's a perfectly valid English term
with more than one meaning. The very fact that you needed to clarify
your context upthread clearly demonstrates the ambiguity.

> Similarly, we 
> have the jargon "freeware" that refers to software distributed at no
> cost. 

Again jargon is useful only to those who know the jargon. Everyone else
is lost or confused.

> So there shouldn't be much ambiguity when the context is 
> understood -- we have distinct terms for these different concepts.

Who is 'we'? The terms may be distinct to you, but in an open general
forum the distinction needs to be made explicit not implicit.

> AFAIK, there's no other common term for what is called "free
> software"

Sure there is. How about 'open source', 'libre software' or
'free/libre/open source software'? To name but three common terms which
are far less ambiguous.

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