[License-discuss] FAQ suggestion

Engel Nyst engel.nyst at gmail.com
Sun Nov 10 18:12:13 UTC 2013

Hello license-discuss,

I would propose an additional paragraph to the FAQ, for the question
What is "free software" and is it the same as "open source"?

The text currently says:
 > One of the tactical concerns most often cited by adopters of the term
 > "open source" was the ambiguity of the English word "free", which can
 > refer either to freedom or to mere monetary price; this ambiguity was
 > also given by the OSI founders as a reason to prefer the new term
 > (see "What Does `free' Mean, Anyway?", and similar language on the
 > marketing for hackers page, both from the original 1998 web site).

At this point in the text, I'd suggest to insert a little explanation on 
the ambiguity in the use of the term of open source as well. Quick draft...

 > On the other hand, the term "open" applied to the source is sometimes
 > used in the sense of merely "provided" or "visible", but the open
 > source definition sets the criteria for "open source" to software
 > licenses that guarantee a set of perpetual and irrevocable
 > rights to every recipient.

The text should then probably skip "furthermore", and continue...

 > The FSF uses a shorter, four-point definition of software freedom
 > when evaluating licenses, while the OSI uses a longer, ten-point
 > definition. The two definitions lead to the same result in practice,
 > but use superficially different language to get there.

I hope it will help with a number of misunderstandings.

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