Sunday, September 10, 2006
What do "free" and "open source" mean?
Four years ago, when I met with "free" terminology, I just associated that term to no money for pay. But, I was immediately enlightening by true definition about it. It is like following explanation :
Many people new to free software find themselves confused because the word "free" in the term "free software" is not used the way they expect. To them free means "at no cost". An English dictionary lists almost twenty different meanings for "free". Only one of them is "at no cost". The rest refer to liberty and lack of constraint. When we speak of Free Software, we mean freedom, not price. Source.Or as noted in here :
Free software is a matter of liberty not price. You should think of "free" as in "free speech".For eliminating the ambiguity of "free" meaning, even The FSF (Free Software Foundation) was published what so called a more precise definition of free software. Nevertheless,
this is not a perfect solution; it cannot completely eliminate the problem. An unambiguously correct term would be better, if it didn't have other problems. Unfortunately, all the alternatives in English have problems of their own. The FSF has looked at many alternatives that people have suggested, but none is so clearly ``right'' that switching to it would be a good idea. Every proposed replacement for ``free software'' has a similar kind of semantic problem, or worse--and this includes ``open source software.''At this point, I just startled by the present of difference between "Free" and "Open Source". Even, stated firmly that :
The Free Software movement and the Open Source movement are today separate movements with different views and goals, although we can and do work together on some practical projects.On the other side, from here you could get brief explaination that :
Open source doesn't just mean access to the source code. The distribution terms of open-source software must comply with the following criteria: Free Redistribution, Source Code, Derived Works, Integrity of The Author's Source Code, No Discrimination Against Persons or Groups, No Discrimination Against Fields of Endeavor, Distribution of License, License Must Not Be Specific to a Product, License Must Not Restrict Other Software, License Must Be Technology-Neutral.
Just FYI, actually this difference ("free" and "open source") emerged since the year 1998. At that time, some of the people in the free software community began using the term "open source software" instead of "free software" to describe what they do. The FSF appeared more agressive when they stated that
We disagree on the basic principles, but agree more or less on the practical recommendations. So we can and do work together on many specific projects. We don't think of the Open Source movement as an enemy. The enemy is proprietary software.compare it with OpenSource one's that said :
In February 1998 a group moved to replace the term "Free Software" with "Open Source Software". ...they both refer to essentially the same thing.But, for an ordinary user like me, It's not a crucial enough problem. While, I could utilize them (both Free and Open Source) optimumly, I'll be happy. What about you?
BTW, related to translating their's license to other language FSF stated here that : therefore, for the time being, we are not approving translations of the GPL as globally valid and binding. Instead, we are doing two things: (1) Referring people to unofficial translations and (2) Publishing translations valid for a single country only. While OpenSource simply stated here that There were (translation effort) at one time, but they were too difficult to translate accurately. We now stick to the English version for consistency's sake.
Here is main source for proper understanding about FOSS :FSF OpenSource
and from Wikipedia : OpenSource and Free Software.