Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

"Free" and "Open Source" Software: Navigating the Shibboleths

To outsiders, software whose source code is freely distributable is open source software. However, as soon as you become involved with the community that centers around such code, you quickly find that it is also called free software -- and that the two terms are far from synonymous.

Which term you choose to use can quickly associate you with a whole spectrum of political and philosophical beliefs, and can make the difference between receiving cooperation and being ostracized. As a newcomer, you might easily imagine that you have stumbled out of the woods and into the target end of a rifle range, all because of your innocent choice of jargon.

To make matters worse, knowing which of the two phrases to use is difficult, because they are used in several different ways. At the most basic level, they indicate a specific organization and its principles. At another level, the choice of terms may reflect your audience. And, at the most important level, your choice may reflect your ethical imperatives and your vision of the future of computing.

All these meanings blur together, and are heavily dependent on context, so much so that members of the communities can switch meaning in mid-conversation, and sometimes even in mid-sentence. They also carry the baggage of over a decade of co-existence and personal animosities.

More Here




More in Tux Machines

GParted 0.20 Improves Btrfs Support

GParted 0.20.0 is out today with a release that primarily improves Btrfs support. The improved Btrfs support comes via now handling support for resizing Btrfs file-systems that span multiple devices. GParted 0.20 also has GRUB2 restoration steps added to the help manual plus various translation updates. Read more

Ubuntu Touch RTM Update Is Out, Has Better Performance and Beautiful New Indicators

Ubuntu developers had some minor problems in the week before with all sorts of bugs that were popping out. They postponed the release of a new update for the Ubuntu Touch RTM and, at one point, they even got everyone to focus on fixing the problems and nothing else. Now they have a new version out and progress really shows. Users who already have Ubuntu Touch on their phones might have noticed that the number of features added to the system have diminished drastically, but that's the way it should be. The system is getting closer to its final stages and there is little reason to add new options now. The current form of the OS is not very far from the official release, so only fixes remain to be made. Read more

Ubuntu turns 10: A look back at desktop Linux standard bearer

Tech pundits differ, to say the least, on a lot of topics in the world of free and open-source software, but it’s inarguable that Ubuntu has been the most influential Linux desktop distribution of the past decade. On the occasion of its 10th anniversary, here’s a brief look back. Read more

Forking Debian, Celebrating Ubuntu, and Best Desktops

Debian and Ubuntu dominated the headlines today with various topics. The community is is celebrating Ubuntu's 10 years and Mark Shuttleworth announced the next codename. Debian lost a contributor and released 7.7 over the weekend while the threat of a fork is pushing a freedom choice. In other news we have Gentoo and 4MLinux reviews as well as the chance to vote for the best Linux desktop environment. Read more