FAQ for giving lectures about Free Software

Matthias Kirschner mk at fsfe.org
Thu Jul 6 12:02:03 UTC 2006

* Simon Morris <mozrat at gmail.com> [2006-07-05 21:25:29 +0100]:

> Another reason why a term other than "free software" is sometimes
> needed is that the word freeware is too easily confused with Free
> Software and it has very negative connotations.

Have you read http://www.fsfeurope.org/documents/whyfs.en.html?

    Although some people say that using the term "free" creates
    ambiguity, many languages have separate terms referring to freedom
    and price. In these languages, the term "free" is not ambiguous. It
    may be in others, including English, but in those misunderstandings
    can easily be avoided by pointing out that free refers to freedom,
    not price.  
    The terminology "Open Source" refers to having access to the source
    code. But access to the source code is only a precondition for two
    of the four freedoms that define Free Software.  Many people do not
    understand that access to the source code alone is not enough. "Free
    Software" avoids catering to this relatively common

One other problem with "Open Source" is, it's a buzzword. I have not
seen any translations of the term.  (IMHO you should use your own
language to talk about important questions).  Try to translate "Open
Source" in other languages, in German it sound really silly "Offene
Quelle", "Offener Quelltext" or whatever, and is totally misleading.  The
source code alone, without the four freedoms, will not help you.  


> I use the term "Free Software" rather than "Open Source" out of habit
> but in this instance I would have been better off using the latter.

I do not think it would have helped; a lot of people think "Open Source"
is gratis, too. 

With best wishes,

Join the Fellowship and protect your freedom!      (http://www.fsfe.org)

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