The 2% discussion - "Free Software" or "Open Source Software"

Stefan Umit Uygur ostendali at
Thu Nov 16 13:21:08 UTC 2017

Personally, knowing and being involved closely to the development/history
of both Free and Open Source Software during the past 20yrs I think there
is no point of trying to compare the 2 entities or distinguish one from

I rather see them one depending on another, meaning without Free Software I
doubt that the Open Source Software would have existed but not vice versa
and that clears almost everything. The way I see is that Free Software is
the entity father (as per my comment on Scott's article) and the Open
Source is the child entity.

Also making a comparison in terms of value I don't see it as a correct
approach, again referring to the relationship between the 2 that I have
just mentioned above. I'd mostly describe Free Software as a theorem and
the Open Source is the module that puts into application that theorem.
Stallman might disagree with me on this statement but I am use to him

I know that the term Open Source is more popular these days simply because
the term Free Software gets people into a confusion. Not everyone is keen
to study the history or dig into the terminology or the meaning of
something like the term Free Software. As Italian, it is easier in my
language for example because in Italian the 2 terms are completely
separate, Freedom and Free vs Libero and Gratis. That helps/helped a lot in
my case but as Matthias mentioned in his article it is not the same in many
other languages and in particular in English.

Either way, I find myself very comfortable to explain that the 2 are the
exact same thing with addition of the reliance (or the existence should I
say again) from one to another and I have no issues in using either of the
terms. Today is more popular Open Source, that sounds perfect to me and I
will stick with that but at the same time in a simple sentence (it takes
1-2 seconds and no need to tell the all history every time and to everyone)
I can describe what I just stated in this email, to make sure people
understands that they are pretty much the same.

Not sure if I explained myself, I hope I did and I'd actually love to have
a discussion like this:-)

On Thu, Nov 16, 2017 at 12:05 PM, Matthias Kirschner <mk at> wrote:

> Hello all,
> I thought you might be interested in that blog post:
>  Scott Peterson from Red Hat this week published an article "Open
>  Source or Free Software". It touches on a very important
>  misunderstanding; people still believe that the terms "Open Source
>  Software" and "Free Software" are referring to different software:
>  they are not! Scott asked several interesting questions in his article
>  and I thought I share my thoughts about them here and hopefully
>  provoke some more responses on an important topic.
> Would be interested in your views.
> Regards,
> Matthias
> --
> Matthias Kirschner - President - Free Software Foundation Europe
> Schönhauser Allee 6/7, 10119 Berlin, Germany | t +49-30-27595290
> Registered at Amtsgericht Hamburg, VR 17030  |   (
> Contact (  -  Weblog (
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