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Popularizing the term "Free Software"

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memenode's picture
User offline. Last seen 34 weeks 2 days ago. Offline
Joined: 2004-07-12

Many people say that free software movement looses the battle with open source movement when it comes to the term with which the world identifies... well, the Free Software.

However, many of us also know how important it is to use the term "Free Software" instead of "open source", because it points out "freedom" while "open source" just points out the availability of the source code.

However, there is another thing standing in a way of the popularization of the *real* term and it's its ambiguity. People, mostly from the windows world, easily interpres the term "free" as "zero cost" or "with no price" while it's all about liberty and freedom, not cost.

However, may it be that with the further popularization of GNU/Linux and "F.O.S.S." in general is finally bringing some true light on the true meaning of "Free Software"?
Here's what makes me ask such a thing:

Google results for the keyphrase "free software"

As you can see, in the results for this ambigous term, GNU.org website is second and third with download.com being on the first place.

Download.com here is the "representation" of "free software" in its other meaning regarding the cost of software. But GNU.org, as a representation of Free *as in freedom* Software is pretty high.

This is just google, i know, and the position in it's results is pretty much dictated by the pagerank and overall popularity of the gnu.org website. But this just got me thinking...

Does anyone thinks that the term "Free Software" is starting to regain its right understanding and also gaining on popularity? I believe it is very possible that, with the growing popularity of "FOSS", *ordinary* people will start seeing this other meaning of the term. I certainly do hope so.

What do you think?

Thanks
Daniel

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Joined: 2004-09-18
Re: Popularizing the term "Free Software"
Quote:

Libervisco wrote:

Does anyone thinks that the term "Free Software" is starting to regain its right understanding and also gaining on popularity? I believe it is very possible that, with the growing popularity of "FOSS", *ordinary* people will start seeing this other meaning of the term.

I think yes, because there are many efforts to explain and popularize the meaning of the "Free Software" term, and many discussions about the "Free Software" vs "Open Source" term question.

As FOSS movement gains popularity, so will the terms used in it, and so will RMS who really tries to explain what Free Software is. More people will hear what he says then.

The only question here is will the companies involved in FOSS (such as RedHat) shout "Open Source" of "Free Software" once FOSS becomes popular :-).

monserrat's picture
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Joined: 2004-11-11
Re: Popularizing the term "Free Software"

In Brazil, the term "free software" is well known, much more than "open source", though 'free software' is not well understood. Much confusion is still there, as Danijel explained above.

FOSS is a completely unknown term. I supposed that this is similar in other countries. That's why I changed the title of our article to "Bringing the Free Software Model to other Areas of Economy".

As this article is not mainly envisaged to FOSS people, we should explain the FOSS term and its meaning in a very precise and clear way.

Rijik.

memenode's picture
User offline. Last seen 34 weeks 2 days ago. Offline
Joined: 2004-07-12
Re: Popularizing the term "Free Software"
Quote:

monserrat wrote:
As this article is not mainly envisaged to FOSS people, we should explain the FOSS term and its meaning in a very precise and clear way.

I agree. However, i consider the term "free software" much more important than just the "FOSS" acronym. We use the FOSS acronym just to easily refer to the whole free software and open source world, both of it's parts (OS and FS).

We should teach everyone else the same, "free software" as primary and FOSS as just an acronym for both movements and the whole community around them.

Thanks
Dan

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