Trying to speak about "logiciel libre"

phil hunt philh at
Wed May 15 16:00:47 UTC 2002

On Wednesday 15 May 2002  1:06 pm, Guillaume Ponce wrote:
> I prefer to speak of "logiciel libre " to refer to "free software" (see
> the "we speak about free software campaign").  But if the "official
> translation" of "open source" is also "logiciel libre", it will be a bit
> harder for French free software supporters to explain people what is the
> difference (if any) between those 2 concepts and why on term should be
> preferred to the other.
> Any advice?

In English, "free" means either "without resriction" or "without price".

This means "free software" can be seen as ambiguous: does it mean free
as in speech, or as in beer? Hence the term "open source" was invented.
(Unfortunately, this also is ambiguous, and can be interpreted as
meaning "you can see (but not necessarily alter) the source").

But in French, there is no ambiguity, one can say "libre" or "gratuit".
So there is no linguistic force pushing for a separate term.

Personally, I think "freedom software" would be a good term, since
it loses the ambiguity.

<"><"><"> Philip Hunt <philh at> <"><"><">
"I would guess that he really believes whatever is politically 
advantageous for him to believe." 
                        -- Alison Brooks, referring to Michael
                              Portillo, on soc.history.what-if

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