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

E L Tonkin py7elt at
Tue Dec 5 14:12:09 UTC 2000


re: Brian Gough's comment on 'Libre Software'

I have to admit that you're quite right there. I think about trying to
explain the ideas behind the FSF and it's quite enough as it is without
having to do it in Franglais... the 'logiciel libre' phrase works quite
well in French, but the only thing you'd accomplish by trying to use
French words to explain a concept like that would be to make yourself
sound highly pseudo-intellectual if you could pronounce it (uncool), or
just confuse everybody if you couldn't (normal, but still uncool). It has
that 'je ne sais quoi' about it... :p sounds about as meaningless as that phrase, unless you speak fluent

/Good/ synonyms for the term "Free Software" in English are difficult to
find. It seems to me that "Free" in this phrase really does encompass all
required meanings; libre and gratis... maybe it's easiest to clarify it by
additional slogans, just as RMS does. "Free as in speech, not as in beer",
and so on. This thread is heading in semantic circles... :)


On Tue, 5 Dec 2000, Brian Gough wrote:

> > but in this case, why not use "Libre software"... as we did for the
> > Libre Software Meeting, last year in Bordeaux (with RMS approval on that
> > term, btw ;) : ?
> There is a basic problem with the term 'libre software' in the UK.

> It's embarassing to admit ...  but I don't really know how to
> pronounce the word 'libre' properly.  And I wouldn't be entirely sure
> which language it comes from either.  And if I didn't know about free
> software, I wouldn't know what it meant.

// OLDSIG "All bad art is the result of good intentions." - Oscar Wilde 

/* START NEWSIG */ Processor: (n.) a device for converting sense to
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