Trying to speak about "logiciel libre"

Jaime E . Villate villate at
Thu May 16 08:58:49 UTC 2002

On Thu, May 16, 2002 at 12:53:45AM +0000, MJ Ray wrote:
> Probably this is enough language games for now.  As long as we all agree
> that the important things to communicate are the freedoms, we can disagree
> over the best ways to do that.

Going back to the original message, the issue was how to translate "free
software" and "open source" into French. Regardless of the correctness of
those terms or the convenience to replace them by others, there are historic
documents that talk about one, the other or both. Obviously, the two terms
should not be translated identically, or you will end up with translated
documents that make no sense (those that talk about the differences of the two

A fact that we have to live with is that a word that has several meanings in
one language cannot be translated by another word that has exactly the same
meanings in the other language. Therefore, I think "logiciel libre" is a good
translation of "free software" and "sources ouvertes" or something else should
be used to translate "open source".


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