[GRASS5] Terminology: Free Software

Glynn Clements glynn.clements at virgin.net
Wed Oct 10 03:54:17 EDT 2001

Jan-Oliver Wagner wrote:

> it is so bad to have already two terms. We shouldn't invent further.
> We would spend even more time to explain that the new term
> means the same as the old term.

Actually, "Open Source" was intended to be a looser definition than
"Free Software". "Open Source" is generally understood to include
BSD/MIT style licences which allow proprietary derivatives, while the
FSF is quite forceful in arguing that such software isn't "Free

> About the fear that people mix up Free Software with 'for free':
> Do you really think that the majority of people is so stupid that
> they don't realize that Freedom is meant?

I'm not sure that it's fair to call it stupidity. It's much more
common for the word "free" to be used to mean "zero-cost" ("gratis")
than "unconstrained" ("libre").

Those of us who are familiar with Free Software movement are used to
hearing these discussions, the "free as in free speech, not as in free
beer" quotes etc, but most users aren't.

> I don't. Especially GRASS users are usually quite intelligent
> and well-educated.

But they are frequently geographers etc rather than "geeks" and, as
such, may be quite unfamiliar with these arguments.

Glynn Clements <glynn.clements at virgin.net>

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