continuing OS vs FS (was: Information about the Free Software

Jan Schaumann jschauma at
Fri Dec 1 23:22:14 UTC 2000

Olivier Berger <oberger at> wrote:

> I have to comment on this excellent explanation and say that in my
> opinion an important point should be adressed by the FSF Europe, taking
> advantage of our multi-lingual nature (vs the american FSF) :
> The Free software stands for Freedom... and freedom is easily translated
> in many european languages as a different word from the one for gratis.
> For example in french, free is "libre" where as gratis is "gratuit".
> This way, the french people involved in the FSFE effort should propagate
> the "logiciel libre" (or libre logiciel) term, which explains clearly
> that freedom what it's all about.
> I would suggest others to do the same in their languages...
> unfortunately, UK (ang germans afaik) don't have such a word to use, ...

Well, in German, there's the difference between "frei" and "gratis" -
you can, and you're right with that assumption, use "frei" to mean
"gratis" (free as in beer), but usually (IMHO at least) it is rather
obvious from the context if you mean "umsonst" (another word for
"gratis") or "frei" (free as in speech). To avoid all confusion, in
German one might want to use the noun - "Freiheit" is most certainly not
related to cost in any way.

> This way, we would get rid of the ritual problem of ambiguity in english
> that lead to the Open word as a replacement of Free...

Well, actually I like the "open". Again, in German I think "offen"
communicates the idea of "free" in a better way - IMHO, of course.

> Btw, for translations, see (and correct, maybe)

hmm, gotta check that - sorry if all I said before seems stupid after
reading this ;))


Jan Schaumann <>

Those who can, do; those who can't, simulate.

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