[Talk] Open source: time for a name change?

Greg 'groggy' Lehey Greg.Lehey at auug.org.au
Wed Aug 6 12:15:53 EST 2003

Years ago, rms came out with a pretty obvious term, "free software".
Despite everything, the name was misinterpreted (beer?  actions?).
And the suits didn't like it because it smacked too much of
counterculture.  So the term "open source" was invented, and it's
doing quite well for itself.

But if you can misinterpret the intentions of "free software", how
much more can you misinterpret "open source"?  Go out in the street
and ask passers-by what each means.  Those who have never heard of
either will have a reasonable idea what free software is, but they
wouldn't even associate "open source" with software until they're

In addition, how important is the source code to the average user?
How many of you have actually changed the source code of the
applications you use?  I'm not denying the advantages of having the
source available, but for most users that's not the point: the real
issue is that it's free.

Now that open source/free software is becoming more mainstream, isn't
it about time to consider a less buzzword-laden term for it?

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