Sometimes I wonder how many hours humanity has spent trying to explain that "free software" isn't always $0.

I get that "liberated software" is a mouthful, but what about "freed software"?


New idea that solves:

- the ambiguity of "free"
- the confusion of /F?\/?L?OSS/
- the software-specific "source"

I've seen folks refer to "open hardware", could we just do the same with software? It seems to solve all of the problems.


My latest (and probably final) attempt that:

- disambiguates "free"
- avoids "open"
- standardizes on /FOSS?/
- is still pronounced /fɔs/
- complements "Free Culture"[0]

0. Freedom to use the source and artifacts.
1. Freedom to study the source.
2: Freedom to share the source
3. Freedom to improve the source.

Instead of "free [and open source] software", it's "free [and open] source [software]".

Am I tripping, or is this legitimately not a bad idea?


Let's pretend like I didn't put a colon after "2" like that though.

The point is that we don't actually care about software.

The point is the source.

I want the source for my software, my firmware, my hardware, and even my wetware honestly. Of course free source for software is important, but it seems like the source itself is the thing that matters -- not the software.

And for cultural works that don't have abstract mechanial "source":

Please somebody shoot me down, but this seems like it could actually solve our current mass identity crisis.

@christianbundy unfortunately, i think this is even more ambiguous / easy to appropriate for things that aren't in any very meaningful sense "open". people already co-opt "open source" to blatantly lie about products that, for example, have an API or are _built on_ public code without publishing their modifications.

>I've seen folks refer to "open hardware", could we just do the same with software? It seems to solve all of the problems.
Similar problem with the name of the FSF (Free Software Foundation) if it was named "Foundation for Software Freedom" (FSF) it would have less connotation with "gratis".

@christianbundy yeah, I like this. To my friends outside the tech industry open source introduces a technical conversation about source code that is less interesting to them than the freedom associated with it.

Another term being used in some circles is community technology, which is a helpful contrast to corporate technology.

@clayton @christianbundy I like both "open software" (openware?) and "community tech".

"Public software" would be nice except it connotes state ownership specifically.

@christianbundy I like this, and ive used that approach in writing at times. One possible source of trouble is confusion with the "open platform" language, but that's probably no big deal.

@christianbundy I wish I had time to discuss and debate the merits of this (great) idea.
But I'll at least invite you to read through the arguments in Stallman's "Why Open Source Misses The Point Of Free Software".

I'm very observant of the difference between "Open Software" and "Open Source Software", but at the same time, it's hard to deny that the terms are very similar - especially for a layman.

@christianbundy The terms Free (Libre) Software and Open Source have very different, very specific meanings and history, even though the software they refer to may be the same code. For an example, see A rather more academic explanation here ... but the answer to your question is basically, "no".

@christianbundy Perhaps one issue is that by adopting the distinction between source and executable code, we undermine our effort to enjoin the two.

The idea, if I'm not mistaken, is that if you use it, you've got the four freedoms. If you interpret the freedoms as being rights, then you have "use rights". The movement would be about the rights of users.

Sort of analogous to "copyright". "Useright".

Lee Felsenstein, inspired by Ivan Illich's "conviviality", used the term "user-controlled".

@kdsch I see your point, but I think the distinction against binaries and blobs may be more helpful (rather than less).

I also hate to appeal to Google, but the fact that "free source ${x}" shows results matching "free and open source ${x}" seems really convenient too.

I like the idea (and love the portmanteau), I'd be interested to see whether it would catch on.

@christianbundy @kdsch this is a very interesting attempt and one that resonates with the (somewhat stallled at the moment) effort we're making to define whether and how code consitutes a common and how this relates to both the people working on it and the binary "snapshots" of that code:

@christianbundy I use FLOSS and free/libre or simply Libre because it's about ethics and liberty...
it's not about the code, it's about the people that write and use it
MIT/BSD is sometimes Libre, sometimes not (when reclosed), GNU is sometimes not libre when it's obfuscated and nerdy disdainfully interfaced (so noone can actually use it = F0)
access to the code is only a side effect of the liberty to use and modify the tools.

@hhardy01 Absolutely!

When you distribute software it's important that you also distribute free source. Free as in "free speech" and free as in "the source doesn't cost extra, it's free".

You can charge for the development, maintenance, or distribution of the source, but the source itself is always libre (and the fact that it's libre is gratis).

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