Free Software / Open source concepts

simo simo.sorce at
Sat Feb 16 17:30:53 UTC 2008

On Sat, 2008-02-16 at 14:16 +0000, Noah Slater wrote:
> > I know this is a sore point in most communities, I was hoping to bring a new
> > perspective on the matter. So don't bust me if I got it wrong.
> Yes, Open Source and Free Software are very different.

For who knows the difference (not many) there is a difference in points
of view, but saying they are "very" different, is plain false (unless
you are emotionally affected by the debate).

Both "camps" use basically the same set of licenses, and 99.99% of the
software that is defined Open Source is also Free Software.

> Free Software is about ethics and Open Source is about pragmatism.

Open Source is a bit more about marketing, there is a strong "Open
Source" ethic so to speak. Open Source avoids the term "free", for some
people it's really about not being interested in freedom, for others is
just about the confusion between gratis and free.

> There is no reason you can't support both or use both on a project.

You can't "use" them, they are definitions not tools.
A project "is" Free/Open Source Software or not.

You can decide which definition you like the most and use that
preferentially, but they are, at all effects largely equivalent and I
see (I know, heresy!) not ashamed in saying Open Source if I know the
person I am talking to is more comfortable with that term. While I do
use Free Software preferentially with people that don't have an opinion,
or don't know at all what FOSS is, and, of course, in the rare cases
when the context make the 2 terms not equivalent.


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