DRAFT FAQ: Free vs. Open

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Thu Jan 10 22:44:58 UTC 2008

Quoting Philippe Verdy (verdy_p at wanadoo.fr):

> Anyway, the term "liberty" exists in English, and the computing industry has
> created much enough new terminology. I can't understand why the term "free"
> was deprecated in favour of "libre" (yes, it's the French term, but its is
> the same root understood in English "liberty" or "liberation" in English and
> French, or "libertad" in Spanish).

I've been known to write and say "free (libre) as opposed to free
(gratis)", but both parenthetical terms come across as, at best,
distractingly Latinate to English-speaking ears -- such that one's means
of expression gets in the way of the message.

(For amusement, see John Cowan's
http://home.ccil.org/~cowan/essential.html, e.g., "English is what you
get from Normans trying to pick up Saxon girls.  --Bryan Maloney"
BTW, is it true that Voltaire said "May the plague take half the English
language, and the ague take the other half"?)


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