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Free software vs open source

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I heard that the open source software movement grew up when it was noticed that people reacted badly to the idealism that the phrase “free software” suggests. In an attempt to attract more people to free software they decided to move away from the ideas implicit in the term “free software” and use their own term “open source” which promotes the practical benefits of this style of development.

There’s definitely been benefits to this approach: the open source camp has attracted many new users to come and try free software such as GNU/Linux, OpenOffice, Firefox etc. The problem is that many of these new users never realise that it was someone refusing to give RMS a copy of a printer’s source code—failing to share as was the norm in the programming world at the time—that started this whole community.

Free software is the other extreme.

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