Talk:Free and open-source software

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Former good article nominee Free and open-source software was a Engineering and technology good articles nominee, but did not meet the good article criteria at the time. There are suggestions below for improving the article. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.

Should this article exist?[edit]

This topic does not exist. "Free software" (X) exists and "open source software" (Y) exists, but the topic "X+Y" does not exist. (I'd even question whether X and Y are sufficiently different to merit separate articles, but that's another discussion.)

"Free and open source software" has no definition - not de facto, not de jure, none. It has no meaning. No one can write anything about it because "it" doesn't exist.

I plan to Afd it but have decided to ask here for comment first. --Gronky 11:51, 5 October 2007 (UTC)

The acronyms FOSS and FLOSS have plenty of community buy-in. Having an article here avoids the strained position of having to awkwardly word things like "free and open source software" all over the place in articles, which doesn't do anyone any good. Chris Cunningham 11:57, 5 October 2007 (UTC)
You've defended use of the term, but I didn't say that nobody does/should use the term, I said this topic doesn't exist as a distinct topic we can write an article on. --Gronky 12:02, 5 October 2007 (UTC)
And I've defended the need for an article by pointing out that it negates the need for tortured double-decker links all over the place. Ideally I'd prefer for both free software and open source software to be merged in here due to the oft-pointed-out duplication in subject matter (with free software movement and open source movement being the "ideological / community" articles), but I very much doubt you'd be willing to "dilute" the free software article in this way. Chris Cunningham 12:20, 5 October 2007 (UTC)
This topic is notable and belongs in Wikipedia. Gronky and I both believe that Free Software is better than other forms of ownership and control of software. I can put it aside when I edit here. He often can not, and usually has a strong POV that is inappropriate when editing Wikipedia. That POV is being expressed here. That POV is damaging to representing Free Software on WP. Lentower 12:32, 5 October 2007 (UTC)
Agreed on all fronts, but despite the odd spat I've edited cooperatively with Gronky on any number of occasions on free software articles and don't see that this needs be any different. Chris Cunningham 13:18, 5 October 2007 (UTC)
Didn't mean to make this sound like a spat. Just a heads-up that Gronky has some problems with maintaining NPOV, and needs a little help with that now and again. Lentower 22:18, 5 October 2007 (UTC)
Of course I disagree with your ad hominem, but that's just off-topic.
Len, you say "This topic is notable". Can you tell me what the topic is? I know there is a thing called "free software", and a thing called "open-source software", but what *thing* is "Free and open source software"? --Gronky 12:00, 6 October 2007 (UTC)
Because there is a difference between completely free software and software licensed as open source,[1], it is important to make the distinction. Thus the page should be kept. --nickster1

FOSS is freely redistributable. So the joint "thing" contains the two distinct things. The article needs to examine both what they share in common, and how they differ. Many find the difference hard to distinguish. Chris is right, the thing to do is merge all three articles, with a good section on each of the three.This would let the reader understand all three with one read - much like the GNU Emacs article was merged into the Emacs article. Lentower 12:53, 6 October 2007 (UTC)

Hmm, now I don't even know if we're discussing the same thing(s). To clarify: the "two distinct things" you refer to, is one free software and the other open-source software?
If so, what has "freely redistributable" got to do with either? And do you mean it in the freeware sense or in the sense used by FreeBSD at the turn of the 80s->90s? (and would it maybe be easier to continue the thread without adding that term?) --Gronky 13:12, 6 October 2007 (UTC)
I'm going to wait a few days to respond further, to see what others have to say. If you haven't, review the article. The editors at Wikibooks have written an article on FLOSS. Lentower 23:50, 6 October 2007 (UTC)
Review what article? The article for this talk page says nothing about freely redistributable software, and the freely redistributable software article says there are two meanings, so I still don't know which you mean. --Gronky 10:31, 8 October 2007 (UTC)
My usage is that: free software can only be linked with other free software that meets the terms of the GNU General Public License; open source software can be linked with proprietary software, and often with free software; and FOSS/FLOSS is the super-set that includes both. As I note in the merge section below, all three articles about them claim to be the super-set term. Lentower 23:02, 8 October 2007 (UTC)
More correct, or at least more common, usage is: free software is aligned with the FSF/GNU idealistic philosophy; open source software is aligned with the OSI/Apache pragmatic goals; and F[L]OSS is both the superset of the two and an attempt to avoid offending either set of partisans. RossPatterson 02:55, 9 October 2007 (UTC)
Ross and I said the same things in different words. Lentower 04:24, 9 October 2007 (UTC)
You didn't say the same things at all. You gave a personal/non-standard definition of "free software", and RossPatterson commented on who each term is aligned with. --Gronky 00:37, 11 October 2007 (UTC)
I haven't read the FLOSS wikibook, and I'm pretty sure I won't have time to in the near future. Is there something in that book that explains your point? Can you point me to that part? This discussion is quite difficult - I think we need to be more precise. --Gronky 10:31, 8 October 2007 (UTC)
The existence of the book, adds to my point that this topic is notable. The editors wrote a lengthy book about it. FLOSS is just a different spelling of FOSS. Still waiting for others to chime in. Lentower 22:54, 8 October 2007 (UTC)
The existence of the book proves that some people use that term for the topic. It's an alternative term for the same topic. A quick skim of that book indicates that it's mostly a collage of gnu.org paragraphs - so the authors didn't write a book about "FLOSS", they just wrote/copied about free software and stuck "FLOSS" on the cover. That seems to back up the idea that FLOSS is just an alternative term for free software, not a separate topic. --Gronky 14:37, 10 October 2007 (UTC)
Gronky: I have already clearly stated that FOSS/FLOSS is not an alternative term for free software, but a term that covers that and other kinds of software. Please do not put words in my mouth. Lentower 23:32, 10 October 2007 (UTC)
FOSS and FLOSS cover two kinds of software, "free software" and "open-source software", nothing more, nothing less. Do you agree yes/no? --Gronky 00:24, 11 October 2007 (UTC)
So you're agreeing that free software and open source software should be merged here, then? Alternative names for free software shouldn't exist as a separate article either, what with Wikipedia not being an organ of the FSF. Chris Cunningham 15:13, 10 October 2007 (UTC)
Chris: You are on the right track here. Lentower 23:32, 10 October 2007 (UTC)
Any merge shouldn't result in translating Wikipedia to FOSS terminology. "FOSS" is just jargon that makes the topic(s) even harder to read about. The long "free software / open source" wording is better because it's at least meaningful. I think "Free and open source" is also confusing for readers because it tells them that these things are different (when we all seem to agree - and I hope I'm not putting words in anyone's mouth here - that, for 99.999% of practical purposes, they're not). "Free software" would be a fine name for a merge, if one is to happen. "Free software (aka open-source software)" would be another non-confusing name. What do you think of those? --Gronky 00:24, 11 October 2007 (UTC)
You know full well what I think of that suggestion: it's completely unacceptable. When you've got key figures in the community saying things like "Linux has always been Open Source, rather then the crazy Free Software thing" it's obvious that using the FSF's title is contentious. Chris Cunningham 11:31, 11 October 2007 (UTC)

New sub section (same thread "Should this article exist?")[edit]

Your conclusions in this paragraph do not agree with the concensus the rest of us are developing., nor are they WPian reasons The concept of FOSS/FLOSS developed for notable reasons, as did the concept of both Free Software and Open Source Software. But FS and OSS are more partisian, and it be best if we selected the most neutral term as the non-redirect title for the article. Your reasoning in this paragraph seems very partisian. As an encyclopedia, we owe a clear and neutral description of all these concepts, and the ways that people actually use them, including a clear and neutral description of the controversy, and conflicting uses of the terms to help the reader understand all of the concepts, not give him just a biased view as you propose here. For practical purposes all the concepts are different. Lentower 11:00, 11 October 2007 (UTC)

Consensus? Rubbish. This discussion is barely coherent. You have your own strange definition of free software, which nobody has agreed with. RossPatterson has only commented on the alignment of each term, which was never in question. And Chris is sometimes agreeing with me and sometimes agreeing with you. There's no consensus. 3 of us have suggested that some kind of merger could work, but each of us has a different view of what form the merger should take. --Gronky 11:33, 11 October 2007 (UTC)
Gronky's right - don't count my comments as agreeing that this is a good idea. I actually agree with Lentower's comment below re: the difficulty of doing it well. RossPatterson 21:22, 11 October 2007 (UTC)
Your use of the word "rubbish" is insulting, as are the tone and many other phrasses in that paragraph. Far more "ad hom" then my pointing out that you have a POV that isn't neutral. Please be civil, as required by WP guidelines. You are also repeating yourself, which doesn't help. Some brand new points, or please just be patient and quiet, and wait to hear what others have to say. Lentower 12:15, 11 October 2007 (UTC)
Sorry for the "rubbish" comment, I've crossed that out now. This thread has just been very frustrating. In all this talking, there doesn't seem to be any progress being made on the substance of the "a merge" proposal. Rather, the more we discuss our understandings, the more we seem to diverge. So seeing "consensus" announced for a merge of two important articles is kinda scary when all I see is support from two people for a vague proposal. --Gronky 22:03, 11 October 2007 (UTC)

There are parts where I disagree with you, and parts where I disagree with Chris. It seems that you and Chris also don't share any agreement on the substance of the topic other than that yous disagreement with me, so when two-person "consensus" is announced, it seems baseless.

Merge-wise I'm in complete agreement with Lentower. I'm waiting for more people to chime in before doing any heavy lifting, but I've got a pretty clear idea of what's going to be done. Chris Cunningham 11:50, 11 October 2007 (UTC)

The heavy-lifting should include finding other articles needing the MergeFrom tag, and a look at the REDIRECTS on all MergeFrom articles to include a list of terms and concepts in use. Both MergeTo and MergeFrom templates have to be set up, so discussion all happens in one section on the MergeTo Talk page . The templates do the wrong thing by default. The should also be a pointer section on each MergeFrom talk page. Lentower 12:15, 11 October 2007 (UTC)
A real consensus would be needed first. Three editors arguing in a dark corner and two saying they're in agreement is hardly a foundation for merging articles as important as free software and open-source software. --Gronky 13:18, 11 October 2007 (UTC)

Merge FS + OSS here[edit]

The above discussion indicates so far, that two of the three of us, have concluded that Free Software and Open Source Software be merged in here. Comments from others, especially those who haven't commented yet? Lentower 12:59, 6 October 2007 (UTC)

There is a merge box on Open Source Software suggesting it's merger with Open Source. Beyond that all three articles assume that their term is the all-encompassing one. It will take careful Solomon-esque editing to merge all three of these. Free Software and Open Source Software also have their unique and different POVs that are currently NOT neutral. Lentower 22:57, 8 October 2007 (UTC)
Actually, I'm open to Gronky's suggestion that while the movements may have stark ideological differences, there's little aside from legal minutae which differentiate the two broad camps of software. I'd rather try a merge than continue the proliferation of smaller articles which are devoted to semantic nitpicking and agenda-advancing. Chris Cunningham 10:42, 9 October 2007 (UTC)
This is patently false. Free Software is about the freedom of the software and Open Source is about open, colaborative development practices. While liberal licences are common to both movements, the goals, views and ideologies are totally different. To suggest that you merge them to avoid "semantic nitpicking and agenda-advancing" is ridiculous on two counts: 1) it is Wikipedia's job to differentiate (or "nitpick" as you call it) between different issues, and 2) these organisations clearly have different roadmaps/adgendas and to ignore that out of a desire to avoid "agenda-advancing" (whatever that term means in this context) is clearly bogus. Nslater (talk) 12:58, 6 April 2008 (UTC)
The legal "minutae" effect seriously how the software can be used for further development. Classic free software can not be linked with proprietary software. Classic open source software can. This difference is worth millions of dollars to proprietary software developers, and is noteable for that reason. A merge has to make this clear from a NPOV. Lentower 13:58, 9 October 2007 (UTC)
Where are you getting the definition of "classic free software" from? Even in 1985, RMS labeled X Windows System as free software. --Gronky 00:43, 11 October 2007 (UTC)
He was talking about the difference between copyleft and permisive licencing as these two forms of legal protection are praised individually by the Free Software movement and the Open Source movement respectively. Nslater (talk) 13:00, 6 April 2008 (UTC)
Are you also proposing a merged article on F(L)OSS Movements? Be good for the encylopedia. Lentower 14:04, 9 October 2007 (UTC)
I am a bit ambivalent a bout the main FS and OSS articles coming here. I do think that Alternative terms for free software can be cleaned up a lot and merged here & would suggest that this would be a good first step whether or not we mere FS and OSS too. --Karnesky 02:10, 26 October 2007 (UTC)
Given that the body of work that can be variously called Free Software, Open Source Software, F/L/OSS, F/OSS, "that software licensed such that it satisfies the DFSG", etc. etc. is only one thing really (with very minor blurring around the edges), it seems to make sense to have a single page for it. The various movements, organisations, and communities that produce this stuff are another matter. Choosing the name for the stuff is a real problem, with the current suggestion resulting in anachronisms like the FSF page reading: "From its founding until the mid-1990s, FSF's funds were mostly used to employ software developers to write free and open source software for the GNU Project." (given that the term Open Source apeared on the scene in 1998). I'd support it if it were called "Free Software (aka Open Source Software)" --Phil Hands (talk) 12:38, 7 April 2008 (UTC)
FWIW, that title is also what I suggest. --Gronky (talk) 15:56, 7 April 2008 (UTC)
There is very little chance that such a contrived title would be chosen. The FOSS moniker sees widespread use these days, and to pick one or the other while sticking the alternative in parentheses smacks of purism. I'd pessimistically note that the camp which supports this naming convention has rather heavy representation on Wikipedia, however, given the opposition comments downthread. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 20:08, 7 April 2008 (UTC)
Surely free software or open source software is just software under a suitable license? Wouldn't it be better to have a merged article about the licenses rather than about the software? After all, the first line is pretty much inevitably going to be "Free and open source software is software released under a license which..." so why not "A free or open source license is ..."? This would make the article more tightly focused on its subject. NicM 08:36, 26 October 2007 (UTC).
I am all ears for further consolidation. The serious proliferation of free software ideology articles has to be fixed at some point, so any moves towards this are welcome. I'd rather consolidate things and split them back out when necessary than continue the current mess of overlapping articles. Chris Cunningham 09:16, 26 October 2007 (UTC)
Just to get the history right: There used to be more than six articles about fs, oss, foss, floss, libre s, fs/oss, etc. I got it down to two. Thumperward has brought it back up to three.
IMO, this article should be in a sandbox or userspace, not in Wikipedia mainspace. --Gronky 12:58, 30 October 2007 (UTC)
IMO, the other three should be merged here. See the AfD. Lentower 02:38, 31 October 2007 (UTC)
Agreed, a merger is in order. Lasse Havelund (talk) 12:23, 23 February 2008 (UTC)
Not agreed. A merger for Free Software and Open Source (two completely different socio-political movements/groups) is the most absurd thing I have witnessed on Wikipedia. These two groups of people/organisations have totally different legal incorporations, governing bodies, views, ideologies, methods, members, leaders and practices. The ONLY thing that ties them together is that they both concern software to some extent and that they both use copyright in some way or another to advance their goals. Nslater (talk) 13:06, 6 April 2008 (UTC)
Not agreed. Merging Free Software into the Open Source page would be incoherent given Open Source's public and deliberate break with Free Software. --Rob Myers (talk) 13:44, 6 April 2008 (UTC)
Not agreed. A merger of the articles would result in conceptual incoherence given the differences in purposes, philosophy, method and consequences between the Free Software Movement and Open Source. To conflate the essential distinctions by merging the articles would be misleading, and entirely unhelpful to serious thinking about this matter. Ammonius.Grammaticus (talk) 14:54, 6 April 2008 (UTC)
I disagree strongly. Each is, by far, large enough to warrants it's own articles. In fact, various aspects of each is already is discussed in depths, effectively, and separately on dozens of articles! Merging would be, at best, foolish and awkward. —mako 16:35, 6 April 2008 (UTC)
Not agreed. It is well established that the software freedom movement and the open source movement are separate in their goals and philosophies, but share similar methodologies for achieving and realising them, and people involved in each movement typically co-operate on writing software despite their motivational differences. I'm surprised that, as a long time Free Software Foundation staffer in the 1980s and early 1990s, Len isn't aware of this. Abattis (talk) 02:44, 7 April 2008 (UTC)
Mixed. My comments may be useful, but I cannot make a legitimate vote here. I agree that the two subject COULD be merged IF there was considerable NPOV work done on both. I will admit that I am to a strong degree an Open Source zealot. I used to try to claim neutrality, but GPL Version 3 pushed me over the edge. To me, Freedom is the biggest issue at hand. However, the version of Free that is proposed by the FSF tends to be comparable to the version of Freedom given to ex slaves after the civil war in the US. "You are free! Now do what you are told." Many Open Source licenses are totally free for both the Developer and the End User. Free Software Licenses tend to be free from the point of view of the End User, but the Developer has many restrictions (UNLESS they are the original developer of course. Both camps are built off of Copy Right, they do not eliminate it). Perhaps, honestly, a better approach may be to have three articles. One of Free Software, one on Open Source Software, and one on FLOSS (This article). I agree that there are significant ideological differences between the two. I believe that the “legal minutia” as it has been put is a very big issue. It is the difference between “I can use this library,” and “I can’t use this library.” """A summary of my views: Both MOVEMENTS warrant either their own article, or at least a substantial chunk of a combined article. An Article discussing the similarities and differences between the two has merit. I abstain from voting on a merger, as I can go either way at this point.""" —Preceding unsigned comment added by Emry (talkcontribs) 01:01, 31 August 2008 (UTC)
Not agreed. The Free Software community explicitly desires a separation from the Open Source community, for valid philosophical reasons. Trying to lump the two together and explain them coherently would not serve either one well. Gnuish (talk) 02:26, 1 February 2009 (UTC)

Use community and consensus, not brute force[edit]

I haven't yet read this soliloquy, but I must object to the brute force manner of dumping the text here and converting 10 or so redirects to suddenly point here (when they already pointed to mature articles which were usually unambiguously the right thing to be pointing to).

Given your history of using brute force to get your changes into Wikipedia, I have to signal right now that this is not acceptable. Wikipedia uses a community process. Please respect it instead of trying to get around with edit floods. --Gronky (talk) 14:07, 17 January 2008 (UTC)

They pointed to a merged article, and were changed to point directly to the section containing the text they formerly redirected to. The merge is obviously a good idea (it covers almost all of the same ground as this article, and most other languages only have one article for both), so I thought I'd be bold and change it. Furthermore, this article used to redirect to the page which it has been merged with, and that was your idea. Changing the redirects back means they're now broken (they redirect twice).
As for the "brute force" charge, it's utterly false. In the section above, User:NicM and User:Lentower agree with a merge. Chris Cunningham (talk) 14:33, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
The double redirects are your fault, so don't use them as a justification for proclaming there's no going back. Not only that but they're trivial to fix too. Two statements in support is a drop in the context of the number of edits and editors involved in the two top-tier Wikipedia articles you've decided to merge. --Gronky (talk) 14:44, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
There's no minimum level of consensus. 4:1 (Karnesky, AdrianM, NicM, me supporting, you opposing) over ten weeks is plenty for an uncontroversial proposal which is in line with the way other language WPs approach the subject; you opposed this one while professing not even to have read "this soliloquay" anyway, having seemingly forgotten it was ever discussed. Chris Cunningham (talk) 14:56, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
Ten weeks of inactivity. That shows lack of interest, not representivity. What's more, the request for deletion was a 5:4 decision, with 3 of those 5 people saying it was proposed too soon and it should be kept to see what happens to it. This was followed by months of silence. It could be argued that their keep condition was not met. But again, here I'm objecting to your edit flood tactic, not the content of the page. I will read it and try to figure out what it's supposed to be. Is it a replacement for "alternative terms for free software" or is it to be a merge target for free software and open-source software? --Gronky (talk) 15:07, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
A merge of "alternative terms". The whole old alt terms article is a subsection of this one. Really though, I think it's a remarkable reading of what transposed (a majority for moving, together with a number of comments saying "it's too soon", followed by two months of near total insertia) to suggest that being bold and making the move was not a perfectly acceptable decision played well within WP policy. For the "edit flood" thing, what was I supposed to do, not fix the redirects while I was merging? I'd appreciate it if I wasn't loudly denigrated for such things in edit summaries in future, thanks.Chris Cunningham (talk) 15:20, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
This is incredible. You did all this just to merge the alternative terms article into this one? So, you...
  1. Convert a redirect to the alternative terms article into a stub
  2. Make controversial proposals and then let it sleep for 10 weeks
  3. Then cut and past the alternative terms text in here and make alternative terms a link here
So this was all just one long rename? If you want to rename an article, there is a Wikipedia process for that. I can't believe you've wasted so much of people's time for this miniscule agenda. --Gronky (talk) 16:13, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
Errr, it obviously isn't a simple rename (from the page history). If it had been a simple rename, I'd have gone through the usual process. And that's a personal attack, and completely unwarranted by my good faith in responding. Chris Cunningham (talk) 16:20, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
I'm only pointing out that you are contradicting yourself and using claimed consensus for another proposal (merge FS and OSS) as support for this current activity which you now explain to be completely different. You cannot claim contradictory things and then complain and claim victimhood when I point this out. --Gronky (talk) 16:23, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
I am referring to comments such as Karnesky's above ("I do think that Alternative terms for free software can be cleaned up a lot and merged here") and on the merger, and Lentower's where he suggests that all three pages be merged here (implying that merging one would be, at the least, a good start). And my "victimhood" is at being told I am "wasting people's time" on a "miniscule agenda"; this is not pointing something out, it is attacking me personally. Chris Cunningham (talk) 16:34, 17 January 2008 (UTC)

Continued...[edit]

(I made a new subsection to keep this thread readable)

You say this new page "obviously isn't a simple rename", but I fail to see what is different between the text that has appeared in this article and the text that was already in the Alternative terms article. Can you explain the difference between what you've put into this article and what was already in the Alternative terms article? --Gronky (talk) 10:41, 18 January 2008 (UTC)

"the text that has appeared" is obviously the same; it's a merge, that's how these things work. It was a 3k article, and a 14k article was merged in, so while a considerable amount of the text remains the same it is now wrapped in a layer of objectivity which changes the focus of the article. The reason is that, per the discussion at the other page, the alt terms article takes a subjective look at the issue from the POV of the Free Software Foundation, while this article purports to address it objectively from all sides. I'm going to work on improving the merge so that the article contains less duplication / contradiction in future. Chris Cunningham (talk) 10:56, 18 January 2008 (UTC)

Merging different things[edit]

Let merge the definition of apples and oranges. They are all fruits! :-) —Preceding unsigned comment added by 88.2.100.57 (talk) 18:53, 6 April 2008 (UTC)

Merging versus disambig[edit]

I'm of the opinion that making this a disambig rather confuses the issue. I'd rather we tried to merge things here, rather than split them all out again. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 10:33, 20 March 2008 (UTC)

There's no support for merging anything here. How does a disambig confuse the issue? --Gronky (talk) 10:37, 20 March 2008 (UTC)
We've both argued on numerous occasions that the two concepts are not really distinct ideas; at best, they're two sides of the same coin. So to "disambiguate" them means that something described as "FOSS" must be one or the other. This is rarely true. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 11:42, 20 March 2008 (UTC)

Merge with Free Software and Open Source Software[edit]

As they are from 99% the same things, I proposed a merge. Let a hearty debate go on. Hopefully, with a nice result! I know there were some efforts like this in the past, greatly reducing the article # mostly about FOSS. However, time has come to make the really final cut now.--Kozuch (talk) 16:04, 24 March 2008 (UTC)

"Open source software" is just a marketing term pushed by corporations who want to sell free software without impacting their selling of proprietary software. The free software article should mention that free software is often called "open-source software", but WP should not rename free software to "open-source software". It is also misleading for WP to create a topic "free and open-source software" since that implies that they are two topics "X+Y" when the real relationship is "X (aka Y)". I would support a merge of these two articles under the title of "free software", or under the title of "free software (aka open-source software)". --Gronky (talk) 10:26, 25 March 2008 (UTC)
Isnt "free software (aka open-source software)" pretty much the same as "Free and open source software"? I wonder how people can make things difficult. Wikipedia is here to bring accessible knowledge to everyone, and with titles like "free software (aka open-source software)" you are not going to achieve this at all. Let us clear this controversy in the first sentence of the article.--Kozuch (talk) 12:00, 26 March 2008 (UTC)
If they're so similar, let's go with my wording :-) The title "free and open source software" implies there are two topics X+Y. That's misleading. --Gronky (talk) 12:32, 26 March 2008 (UTC)

I disagree, they are not necessarily used interchangeably, it is important to define them separately as X and Y. Free could mean software at a cost that is being offered for free, but is not necessarily free by design, which is the case with most open source software. Simmyfierce (talk) 19:20, 1 November 2011 (UTC)

I totaly agree with Gronky —Preceding unsigned comment added by 85.178.14.194 (talk) 20:31, 27 March 2008 (UTC)
You are right, the term topic "FOSS" means nothing and is not used at all - [2], [3], Template:FOSS (sarcasm).--Kozuch (talk) 11:51, 28 March 2008 (UTC)
It is a term that exists, but Wikipedia does not exist to document every term in existence. Wikipedia describes topics. Free software is a topic, Open Source Initiative is a topic, the open source marketing campaign is a topic, alternative terms for free software is a topic. "FOSS" is not a topic, it's just a term. --Gronky (talk) 12:11, 28 March 2008 (UTC)
Striking out "term" and replacing it by "topic" doesn' change much. There is software that exists, and many packages are notable. And there is a concept of giving people certain freedoms related to these packages, that that concept is notable and is described in free software. There are various terms which some people use as alternatives for "free software", and they include "FOSS", "FLOSS", "libre software", "software libre", "oss/fs", but each of these terms is just a term and doesn't deserve it's own Wikipedia article. --Gronky (talk) 12:30, 28 March 2008 (UTC)
[Note: I only noticed the "sarcasm" tag now - maybe I replied too seriously :-] --Gronky (talk) 12:41, 28 March 2008 (UTC)
Free software and open-source software are two separate concepts. See this essay, Why “Open Source” misses the point of Free Software, by Richard Stallman. Since there have been no contributions to this discussion in over a week, I am removing the notice. 98.217.44.153 (talk) 15:27, 9 April 2008 (UTC)

About the FOSS redir[edit]

Whatever side of the merging debate each of us is on, we have to avoid harming Wikipedia while we have the debate.

So I'll start by saying that if a merge of free software and open-source software does happen, then I will support redirecting FOSS, FLOSS, libre software, etc. to that merged article. I'm not contesting that those names should link to a combined article if/when one exists. But, in the mean time, while we're havin this debate, those names should point somewhere useful. Users who click on those links do not want to come see this stub article. They want to read about free software, open-source software, or the naming debate described at alternative terms for free software.

So, in the interests of insulating Wikipedia readers from the debate we're having (which we should probably be having in a sandbox rather than on the live articles), I would like to change FOSS and FLOSS back to redirecting to alternative terms for free software. And if/when a merge happens, I will support changing those redirects to point to the merged article. I've raised this on WP:Redirects for discussion --Gronky (talk) 14:13, 25 March 2008 (UTC)

That's putting the cart before the horse. While this article exists, it is obviously the correct target for an abbreviation of its own title. "Insulating readers" to the outcome of that discussion is the exact opposite of what we should be doing. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 17:38, 25 March 2008 (UTC)

"Free and open source software" ?[edit]

Free Software is software released under the GPL, like Wikipedia. Open Source software is software that everyone can contribute to, like Amazon.com's costumer reviews. - They do -NOT- belong in the same article. They are two entirely different things. DCEvoCE (talk) 03:43, 29 March 2008 (UTC)

I would be interested to know where you got those definitions from. --Gronky (talk) 21:23, 30 March 2008 (UTC)
Just my own examples which I hope explain the difference. DCEvoCE (talk) 21:40, 31 March 2008 (UTC)
The definitions we're using are The Free Software Definition and the Open Source Definition. --Gronky (talk) 21:23, 30 March 2008 (UTC)
Very good links. Thanks for posting them. I still don't think they do explain the difference. This link does explain it much better than I can: http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/open-source-misses-the-point.html DCEvoCE (talk) 21:40, 31 March 2008 (UTC)
I like that essay very much too. Stallman explains the differences in the focuses and philosophies attached to the terms, and he asks people to use the term "free software" so that users of the software hear about the values of the free software movement, but for the software itself, he says "the two terms describe almost the same category of software". --Gronky (talk) 21:47, 31 March 2008 (UTC)
Well, even when I am a fan of RMS, I just cant understand why he cant accept the "joint venture" FOSS (or FLOSS) term. He would help everybody to stop fighting about such a little (stupid) issues like naming is. And therefore Wikipedia should help here out and finally coin the joined term.--Kozuch (talk) 21:59, 31 March 2008 (UTC)
Unfortunately, Wikipedia is not the place to "coin" terms. --Hamitr (talk) 23:36, 31 March 2008 (UTC)
What do you think consensus makes then?--Kozuch (talk) 00:02, 1 April 2008 (UTC)
This part is interesting:
Under the pressure of the movie and record companies, software for individuals to use is increasingly designed specifically to restrict them. This malicious feature is known as DRM, or Digital Restrictions Management (see DefectiveByDesign.org), and it is the antithesis in spirit of the freedom that free software aims to provide. And not just in spirit: since the goal of DRM is to trample your freedom, DRM developers try to make it hard, impossible, or even illegal for you to change the software that implements the DRM.
Yet some open source supporters have proposed “open source DRM” software. Their idea is that by publishing the source code of programs designed to restrict your access to encrypted media, and allowing others to change it, they will produce more powerful and reliable software for restricting users like you. Then it will be delivered to you in devices that do not allow you to change it.
This software might be “open source,” and use the open source development model; but it won't be free software, since it won't respect the freedom of the users that actually run it. If the open source development model succeeds in making this software more powerful and reliable for restricting you, that will make it even worse. DCEvoCE (talk) 22:03, 31 March 2008 (UTC)


(Run into an edit conflict with your above post and the following:) I think the thing is that Free Software is what the name says: Free Software - free as in freedom, and that obviously includes the source code. Open Source software on the other hand to most people is just that: Software with a public source code. Two entirely different things. DCEvoCE (talk) 22:03, 31 March 2008 (UTC)


From Stallman's introduction, "Common misunderstandings of “free software” and “open source”:
Here is how writer Neal Stephenson defined “open source”:
"Linux is “open source” software meaning, simply, that anyone can get copies of its source code files."
I don't think he deliberately sought to reject or dispute the “official” definition. I think he simply applied the conventions of the English language to come up with a meaning for the term. The state of Kansas published a similar definition:
"Make use of open-source software (OSS). OSS is software for which the source code is freely and publicly available, though the specific licensing agreements vary as to what one is allowed to do with that code."
Open source supporters try to deal with this by pointing to their official definition, but that corrective approach is less effective for them than it is for us. The term “free software” has two natural meanings, one of which is the intended meaning, so a person who has grasped the idea of “free speech, not free beer” will not get it wrong again. But “open source” has only one natural meaning, which is different from the meaning its supporters intend. So there is no succinct way to explain and justify the official definition of “open source.” That makes for worse confusion. DCEvoCE (talk) 22:09, 31 March 2008 (UTC)
The thing is, these aren't broadly-accepted definitions. Stallman's own position on the issue seems to vary from declaring OSS to be a subset of free software and declaring that the two are separate. I believe that the most common position is that they are basically two names for the same thing, with the additional caveat that the term "free software" makes an explicit guarantee of some freedoms which are only implied by the term "open source". Regardless, I don't believe we need two different articles on the two terms (or indeed five, which is about as many as we have now) and I do believe that the catch-all term "free and open source software" sees sufficient popular use that it would be an acceptable title. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 23:50, 31 March 2008 (UTC)

Redirect to Alternative terms of free software[edit]

Personally, I think Free Software and Open Source are very different ideas (although the same software) - e.g. the history section would be significantly different - so I think they both deserve their own articles. However, this article is not a significant movement or way of thinking about things, it just tries to group the two together. Therefore, I would say redirect this article to Alternative_terms_for_free_software#FLOSS. What do you think? --Bjwebb (talk) 16:11, 2 April 2008 (UTC)

  • support I support the proposed redirect. It would reduce duplication of material in Wikipedia. --Gronky (talk) 18:06, 2 April 2008 (UTC)
  • support I was thinking of something very similar. --Hamitr (talk) 19:27, 2 April 2008 (UTC)
  • The ideas are different though the software is the same - kind of schizoid to me... can not support this.--Kozuch (talk) 20:42, 2 April 2008 (UTC)
    FWIW, my thinking for that is that the ideas should go on free software movement, open source initiative etc. --Gronky (talk) 21:04, 2 April 2008 (UTC)
    Great, we are slowly getting there - what remains then when the two different idea(lism)s go to there? Isnt it one and ever same "Free and open source SOFTWARE"?--Kozuch (talk) 21:29, 2 April 2008 (UTC)
    I think the ideas and idealims have already been moved to the articles I mentioned. Yes, the sets of software are practically the same. The software is free software. "open-source software" is a marketing campaign for free software (that's how Open Source Initiative describes it[4]). The concept/topic for the software is "free software". --Gronky (talk) 22:08, 2 April 2008 (UTC)
  • I am still undecided and thus can not support this merger right now because I am starting to realize the enormous difficulties and dangers involved to further differentiate between OSS and Free Software. It now seems that this article could have the potential to help with clarifying the confusion on this topic.
    Let's take the OSS article. How would you guys reword the following introduction ? (not a rhetoric question)
    Open source software is computer software for which the human-readable source code is made available under a copyright license (or arrangement such as the public domain) that meets the Open Source Definition. This permits users to use, change, and improve the software, and to redistribute it in modified or unmodified form. It is often developed in a public, collaborative manner. Open source software is the most prominent example of open source development and often compared to user generated content.[1]
    As you can see, judging by this introduction, OSS is defined as its own kind of software, no links to the Free Software movement / Copyleft / GPL, etc., instead the authors defined OSS as software that "permits" the user to change the software - which by definition of Free Software would be your right to do (as one of the four freedoms in Free Software). DCEvoCE (talk) 16:55, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
    I think what I would propose would be to merge most "Open Source" related articles into the Free software articles, as OSS is just another (wrong) label for Free Software. DCEvoCE (talk) 17:11, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
References
  1. ^ Verts, William T. (2008-01-13). "Open source software". World Book Online Reference Center. 

Removed invalid comparison[edit]

I've removed the following text:

The biggest difference is that Richard Stallman's definition of free software includes the GNU Public Licence (GPL) requirement that modifications and additions also have to be licensed under the GPL, whereas "open source", "free open source software", and "free libre open source software" all include licenses without that requirement, as certified by the Open Source Initiative.

This is confusing "free software" (any software which gives the user the 4 basic freedoms) with copyleft, which is a way to guarantee that software stays free. There are certain differences about which licenses qualify as free software licenses and which are open source licenses, but the GPL is not such a case (not stated above, but seems generally confused). Foolip (talk) 16:39, 26 August 2008 (UTC)

Industry Support Wording[edit]

In January 2008 HP announced software governance initiative to help address the legal, financial and security risks connected with the adoption of free and open source software (FOSS),[4] as the company itself made more than $10 billion revenue on open source-related in the past few years[5] and more than 22 percent of shipped units and 17 percent of the company's server revenues have come from GNU/Linux in past two quarters.[6] The project is supported by other subjects like OpenLogic, Google or Novell.[7] While FOSSology is a tool for tracking and monitoring the use of free and open-source software within an IT environment and is available under the terms of the GNU General Public License (version 2),[8] FOSSBazaar is rather a web site that hosts discussion groups and information resources on how to adopt and manage open source code.[9]

I do not know enough about this information to fix the wording (I may need to do some research) but it is baddly worded and hard to understand. The first part looks like a snippit with minimal context, and everything after reference [6] (The project is supported by other ...) looks incoherent and garbled. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Emry (talkcontribs) 02:49, 31 August 2008 (UTC)

I tried to write this section as independent and NPOV as I could. I admit it is a bit tough reading though, if someone wants to simplify, go ahead...--Kozuch (talk) 17:31, 20 September 2008 (UTC)

Merging Open Source Software into Free and Open Source Software[edit]

I propose to merge Open Source Software into this article. "Open Source" software is yet another name for Free Software. Free and Open Source Software could be the one article to cover the topic (instead of now three) and could also explain all the different names. DCEvoCE (talk) 12:42, 20 September 2008 (UTC)

Support. I see you changed opinion though.--Kozuch (talk) 17:27, 20 September 2008 (UTC)
Oppose. It is a bit more than different names. "Free software" implies that it is Open Source AND approved by the Free Software Foundation as "free". For example look at the comment on their own website [5], and also a much stronger comment by Linus who fundamentally does not want to refer to Linux as "Free Software" [6]. The articles need to be kept separated - free software is more of a philosophy/policy based around open source, open source is more of a technical thing.--Sir Anon (talk) 09:20, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
You wrote that "Free software" would imply that it would have to be Open Source AND approved by the Free Software Foundation as "free". That is not the case. Free software is software that is licensed under a(ny) free software license that do provide you with the four freedoms of free software, such as the GPL. "Open source" is just another word or label for free software. DCEvoCE (talk) 15:33, 5 October 2008 (UTC)
The difference of FOSS and Open Source is in the detail. So it should not be merged. There are many special cases of opens source like FOSS, but including all into one article will increase open source to one article with to many sections. FOSS is now poorly written and many details missing. Abreviation FOSS is used different. Neutral for a synonym, like Open Source. As a key word for an aggreement (special rules different to Open Source and GPL) which tried the writer to express in a not good style (ad). Do not merge, article needs repair. Dieter --62.158.109.141 (talk) 16:36, 5 October 2008 (UTC)
DCEvoCE - as you said, "Open source" is just one of the criteria of "Free software". The articles as they are do need clarification on this and a clean up, but a merge is unjustified.--Sir Anon (talk) 05:48, 6 October 2008 (UTC)
Support. This has been a long time coming. We have far too many overlapping articles on free software already, and consolidation is a good idea. There is insufficient concrete difference between the terms to warrant so many separate articles. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 16:51, 5 October 2008 (UTC)
Oppose, per Dieter, Mion (talk) 17:31, 5 October 2008 (UTC)
Cant see "Dieter" anywhere near here.--Kozuch (talk) 19:56, 18 January 2009 (UTC)
Oppose FOSS is quite different than either free or pure open source. RedChihuahua (talk) 13:16, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
Support these mergers have to fairly note the differences, but having three or more articles on each area of the FOSS movement is ridiculous, as well as being confusing to the typical Wikipedia reader. Most people find the distinctions minimal. Lentower (talk) 04:31, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
Oppose There is a massive diffrence between free and open source software. IE is free but it will never be open souce. Spudinator (talk) 22:29, 9 January 2009 (UTC)
IE is a freeware, but definitelly not a free software.--Kozuch (talk) 19:56, 18 January 2009 (UTC)
Many people call "freeware" (gratis software) -> "free software"... in fact, freeware is just free+software (yeah, I know quite well the diference, I just think the definition of "free software" should not be dicated by the FSF). Freedom means different things for different people. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 85.241.113.223 (talkcontribs) 03:04, 25 January 2009
Unless something has changed, IE is not even freeware: you must own a Windows license to have a right to use it. --AVRS (talk) 22:58, 5 March 2009 (UTC)
Oppose. Clarified the distinction in the fourth paragraph, beginning "Today the terms...". As more background, Stallman created "free software", Raymond and friends created "open source", business created "commercial open source", and the "community" have since reclaimed the common ground from all of the above by putting Stallman and Raymond together by shotgun marriage with common use of "free [libre] open source software". See para 4 of article for more. Reliablesources 19:19, 1 February 2009 (UTC) 19:19, 1 February 2009 (UTC)
oppose - there is already a detailed, referenced article for the various alternative terms that were later tacked onto free software, it's at: alternative terms for free software. Gronky (talk) 23:32, 2 February 2009 (UTC)
Comment: The article Community distribution has been nominated for deletion via WP:PROD. Editors of this article might want to consider merging it too or making it a redirect. It currently consists of 3 paragraphs and 2 lists. Coppertwig (talk) 02:10, 7 March 2009 (UTC)
oppose Per above, two distinctly different topics. They both stand fine on their own. 128.113.228.19 (talk) 16:55, 12 June 2009 (UTC)

Article content merged into free software[edit]

As this article (free and open source software) and the free software article both state that the terms are synonymous, text has been merged into free software as the far better developed article. The content of this article is already well covered in fact by free software and there is absolutely no indication of substantial differences. Kbrose (talk) 19:10, 23 September 2009 (UTC)

You clearly have limited knowledge of the topic. There are political differences between free software, which is a movement started by Richard Stallman, and open source software, which distances itself from Stallman and his politics. FLOSS is a movement which is an attempt to unify the differences. This is not simply about types of software, there is a lot more involved. Yworo (talk) 19:13, 23 September 2009 (UTC)
Probably I have more knowledge than you. Whatever political differences there may be need to be articulated, clearly and unambiguously. A novice reader coming to these articles would not discern any difference from the existing articles. Please write a FOSS article that clearly distinguishes itself. As it stands that article is simply a short rehash of free software and falls well within that title. Kbrose (talk) 19:20, 23 September 2009 (UTC)
I didn't write the current article and there is no requirement that the article be "good" to be allowed to remain and continue to be developed by the usual collaborative process. Extreme actions such as moving or redirecting established articles should always be discussed in advance. So open a discussion and don't just presume to make such major changes. Yworo (talk) 19:25, 23 September 2009 (UTC)

Three articles vs. one article[edit]

The above two sections imply that some editors see a problem with having three articles: free software, open source software and free and open source software. I don't see a problem here, but if there is a problem, only one solution would be acceptable to me, namely to merge both the article on free software and the article on open source software into this article. That is the only solution other than keeping the articles separate which would fulfull Wikipedia's neutral point of view policy. Of course, consensus for the merge would have to be obtained from the editors of both the free software and open source software articles. Yworo (talk) 20:13, 23 September 2009 (UTC)

Unreliable sources[edit]

This article refers to the Wikibook, b:FLOSS Concept Booklet, and quotes it inline. This seems inappropriate since a Wiki book is not usually concerned verifiable. The booklet doesn't cite any sources in turn so this isn't even verifiable. I didn't see any specific guideline about citing Wikimedia foundation works from Wikipedia, but citing a sister project as a source seems so patently wrong that it's not worth mentioning. If someone seconds my motion, could they take care of this soon? --Ashawley (talk) 05:23, 31 October 2009 (UTC)

My motion was seconded by User:RossPatterson with this edit.

I avoided the task myself because I thought deleting it outright would be a bad-faith edit in light of the {{Expand}} template at the top of the page. The overall verifiability problems with this article persist, however. --Ashawley (talk) 19:42, 2 November 2009 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

Free and open source softwareFree and open-source software — like Open-source software — Neustradamus () 16:03, 12 January 2010 (UTC)

oppose (it's not a common usage) Tedickey (talk) 22:12, 12 January 2010 (UTC)
official website: http://www.opensource.org/docs/osdNeustradamus () 22:16, 12 January 2010 (UTC)
It uses both; the most common appears to be without the hyphen. Tedickey (talk) 22:39, 12 January 2010 (UTC)
oppose Most common usage of the term is not hyphenated. In the page linked above, "open-source" is used twice while "open source" is used six times. This same discussion about hyphenating open source has come up before on one or more pages, and the consensus was to omit the hyphen. --Hamitr (talk) 03:01, 13 January 2010 (UTC)
Do not mix Open Source and open-source, it is not same (name and adjective) — Neustradamus () 04:00, 13 January 2010 (UTC)
If you don't want to mix them, then you need a different reliable source which pre-empts the one you chose. Tedickey (talk) 10:02, 13 January 2010 (UTC)

Note: This discussion has been copied to Talk:List of free and open source software packages#Requested move. Please continue the discussion there. Jafeluv (talk) 16:04, 22 January 2010 (UTC)

  • That discussion was closed no concensus after 34 days Anthony Appleyard (talk) 11:38, 24 February 2010 (UTC)

Move discussion in progress[edit]

There is a move discussion in progress on Talk:List of free and open source software packages which affects this page. Please participate on that page and not in this talk page section. Thank you. —RM bot 16:00, 22 January 2010 (UTC)

  • That discussion was closed no concensus after 34 days Anthony Appleyard (talk) 11:38, 24 February 2010 (UTC)

misrepresented quote[edit]

The statement is likely an amplification quoting Stallman, but "often describe it" would have to be sourced to prove that a fairly large number of people use that wording. In that case it wouldn't be a quote, but perhaps some slogan, e.g., on T-shirts. However, omitting "free" from beer makes the "quote" idiomatically absurd. Tedickey (talk) 00:52, 4 February 2010 (UTC)

In order to (hopefully!) solve this matter, I have altered the paragraph in question to reference a specific source -- the Free Software Foundation, to use it's specific wording, and to not use vague general terms like "advocates often" and so forth. Ithizar (talk) 17:48, 4 February 2010 (UTC)

This quote should be removed. It has nothing to do with controversy over FLOSS. That quote is controversy about Stallman and should be on his page not this one. The controversy section should be reserved for things that DIRECTLY relate to FLOSS. thehungrylumberjack 11:22, 11 June 2010 —Preceding unsigned comment added by 142.92.60.20 (talk)

Agree. 85.225.115.253 (talk) 17:32, 7 July 2010 (UTC)
Disagree, Eric Raymond's response was triggered by what Stallman said. But the response itself is about the FLOSS community as a whole. Yworo (talk) 17:53, 7 July 2010 (UTC)
Sorry for the revert, didn't look here first. I think my revert comment is self explanatory. Do you insist that this should be here, and if so, why? Thanks. --Paxcoder (talk) 21:31, 7 July 2010 (UTC)

non-topical see-also[edit]

A link was added for List of free and open source software packages, whose content is nontopical, (doesn't deal with the notion of licensing, etc.), and is - see categories - one of a large number of lists tangentially related to this topic. Incidentally, the categories listed for this topic would comprise an even larger list. The point of a see-also is that it should be specially relevant (Wikipedia:See_also#See_also_section) TEDickey (talk) 15:43, 3 October 2010 (UTC)

It's clearly directly related to the topic, as it's a list of software that is licensed under such a license. Also, perhaps you didn't notice, this article is not specifically about licensing. It's primary topic is software, the last word in its title. Arguing that "free and open source software packages" are not related to "free and open source software" seems, to put it bluntly, a little weird. Yworo (talk) 16:08, 3 October 2010 (UTC)
I see (a basic disagreement about what the topic is). Then you don't see any reason to not add see-also's to each of the items in Category:Free software lists and comparisons TEDickey (talk) 16:49, 3 October 2010 (UTC)
I see no reason to argue about whether or not to add something to see also that nobody has actually proposed doing. Yworo (talk) 16:54, 3 October 2010 (UTC)

Copyright[edit]

I'm interested in adding a section on copyright. There have been a couple of significant events with copyright and FOSS. One such event is when the projects like GCC and Samba changed their licensing to GPLv3. Being the copyright holders, they can do that. This change eventually resulted in users losing access to the FOSS. The case I'm talking about is involving GPLv3 and Apple. For more details, see my posts in the GPL Discussion page. There are similar concerns about Oracle's newfound copyright on MySQL. Google is involved too with a lawsuit by Oracle over Java. All of these are cases of the copyright holder exercising their rights on free and open source software. Thoughts? --Jdaniel905 (talk) 04:37, 13 October 2011 (UTC)

Good suggestion. Perhaps we could also list other FOSS / FLOSS copyright cases as well. Luc T MI (talk) 02:53, 23 October 2011 (UTC)
Thanks. My edits are complete. I found a great article by Vetter that used Dualism to express what I wanted to say. That article is the source of the general theme of my contribution so I added it to the reference list. Specific details have their own citations. Vetter talks in depth about a FOSS case involving model railroad software. Like most cases, it is quite messy. I think the FSF/Apple bickering is cleaner and more representative of the current state of affairs than specific legal cases. Apple has one of the most powerful legal teams in the world and the fact that they won't touch the GPLv3 speaks volumes. Alas, Apple, as usual, has made no public statement on the issue so I just had to rely on hearsay and speculation. The FSF has won hearts and minds, but Apple wins the pocketbooks. Who will win, I wonder. --Jdaniel905 (talk) 21:11, 23 October 2011 (UTC)

Introduction of the "GLOSS" acronym?[edit]

The vast majority of free software is also gratis. As quoted in the article, Eric S. Raymond disapproves of the FOSS and FLOSS acronyms, and... personally I do too. There exists another acronym, GLOSS, which stands for "gratis/libre/open source software", which may be used when software satisfies all three criteria, in order:

With the benefits that it is easily pronounceable, makes for a nice selling point, and is short and sweet. X-Fi6 (talk) 04:42, 17 February 2012 (UTC)

When the term is widely used and its use is attributable to reputable sources, then it can be mentioned on Wikipedia. Until then, it's a no-go. Wikipedia does not promote any obscure terms or unsourced ideas that a Wikipedia editor comes up with, no matter how nice they think they might be, which is described in numerous official Wikipedia policies and guidelines. Original research or original ideas are not allowed, Wikipedia is not a publisher of original thought ("defining terms, coining new words, etc.")
A quote from the Fringe theories guideline might perhaps explain the attributability requirements: "Reliable sources are needed for any article in Wikipedia. They are needed in order to demonstrate that an idea is sufficiently notable to merit a dedicated article about it; and for a fringe theory to be discussed in an article about a mainstream idea, reliable sources must discuss the relationship of the two as a serious matter. Reliable sources on Wikipedia include peer-reviewed journals; books published by university presses; university-level textbooks; magazines, journals, and books published by respected publishing houses; and mainstream newspapers."
So if you can prove that the term "GLOSS" (referring to free software) appears in mainstream peer-reviewed journals, books, magazines or reputable websites ("FLOSS" does), then it can be mentioned in the article.—J. M. (talk) 06:24, 17 February 2012 (UTC)

State IT Policy of 2001[edit]

I see that under the Section on "FOSS Adoption", the first entry, that of the Government of Kerala, has been removed by an anonymous user (115.242.108.223, at 22:58, 16 February 2012‎), without assigning any reason whatsoever. I have re-inserted the removed text (and added a reference to the GNU Press Release of 20 July 2001). The 2001 State IT Policy of Kerala has been provided as reference, linked from the UN Public Administration Network. I am of the considered opinion that any further attempt to remove this entry would amount to vandalism. —Sierra1bravo (talk) 05:57, 27 April 2012 (UTC)

Having read the source, other editors will disagree both with your characterization of the source as well as with your comments about editors who disagree with your edit. For what it's worth, here is the text which has been reconstructed into "official support":

The Government wishes to encourage the judicious use of open source/free software that complements/supplements proprietary software, to reduce the total cost of ownership of IT applications/solutions without compromising on the immediate and medium term value provided by the application. The Government welcomes research into the use of open/free software in the context of education, governance, and for general use at home, to make IT truly a part of the daily lives of the people of the State. The Government also encourages projects such as the Simputer that is low cost, based on open software, and attuned to the needs of the common man.

In short, it provides "encourage", "welcomes", but no "support" (which is an entirely different matter - no funding or policy is addressed). Please follow the sources, rather than leading them TEDickey (talk) 08:22, 27 April 2012 (UTC)

Thanks for the response. However, I believe it is unfair to define support in terms of the word 'support' being used or in terms of funding, especially given the fact that the policy statement statement has been made in 2001. As far as funding is concerned, policy statements do not usually specify funding in so many words, as it is implicit in a statement like "...welcomes research into use of open/free software...".

Given the fact that this is 2001, given the fact that no other government had done this before, and given the fact that this is a Third World government that was thinking out of the box, I believe it is unfair/unreasonable to expect semantic fidelity to contemporary definitions of 'support'. I argue that it is entirely appropriate that the section is brought back. Sierra1bravo (talk) 13:39, 1 May 2012 (UTC)

If you look for mention of "support" by any government agency, it will inevitably lead to discussion of funding. Lacking a WP:RS for your opinion, it should be rephrased to reflect the given source, rather than providing interpretation TEDickey (talk) 20:23, 1 May 2012 (UTC)

Hyphenation of 'open-source'[edit]

I seem to have waded, inadvertently, into a controversial issue. I moved this article from Free and open source software to Free and open-source software, per Open-source software and in order to hyphenate the compound modifier and, thereby, avoid the implication that the article is about "source software that is free and open". I was not aware of the 2010 discussion regarding the page title and, therefore, will refrain from further moves until the situation can be clarified. Thank you, -- Black Falcon (talk) 20:18, 4 June 2012 (UTC)

As no one voiced opposition in the past month-and-a-half, I have moved two sub-articles of this article to the hyphenated form: List of free and open-source software packages and Comparison of free and open-source software licenses. I will leave alone the other articles which were part of the 2010 discussion. -- Black Falcon (talk) 19:35, 16 July 2012 (UTC)

Assignment of copyright to the FSF when using GPL[edit]

The article read "To strengthen its legal position, the Free Software Foundation asks developers to assign copyright to the Foundation when using the GPL license.[31]" This seems FUD to me. The FSF does no such thing. You can freely use the GPL with no restrictions what-so-ever, except those that are in the license. But the FSF does ask developers to assign copyright to the FSF, if they (the developers) are working on GNU projects, or if they want a project brought into the GNU project. I changed the quoted text to "To strengthen its legal position, the Free Software Foundation asks developers to assign copyright to the Foundation when donating software to the GNU project.[31] No such requirement exists for using the GPL license." — Preceding unsigned comment added by 94.145.226.49 (talk) 15:16, 17 September 2012 (UTC)

It wasn't FUD, but a simple mistake. It would be better to correct the error instead of just deleting it. I think it is important to consider that license and copyright are different. That is the purpose for the GNU assignment clause. GNU wants the right to use GPLv4 at some point in the future. That can only happen if GNU owns the copyright. Not enough people are aware of the fact that the copyright owner can release a GPL version and a proprietary version. Jdaniel905 (talk) 17:57, 28 November 2012 (UTC)
It is possible for licensees (such as the GNU project regarding non-GNU software) to use a later version of the GPL or any other license without being assigned copyright; namely when copyright holders explicitly release their work under "license FOO version BAR or any later version". This is the intended behaviour of GPLv2+ and GPLv3+ works, where + denotes the "or any later version" licensing option. --isacdaavid 21:13, 27 December 2013 (UTC)

comment on "dualism of FOSS" section[edit]

To me the "Dualism of FOSS" section is just plain misleading in the 2 paragraphs about the BSD license and the GPL license. The thing is, both the GPL and the BSD licenses are free licenses. And, there is no link between BSD licensing and open source as opposed to GPL licensing being tied to free software. Under normal circumstances, you could release free software under a BSD license, and you could release open source software under a GPL license - the Linux kernel being a famous example of the latter, considering that its first contributor and copyright holder refers to it as open source, rarely if ever calling it free software (in effect the Linux kernel as distributed by The Linux Foundation is both free software and open source software, it is a case where calling it one or the other is a difference of emphasis more than anything else).ThorinMuglindir (talk) 19:56, 18 September 2012 (UTC)

As for open source being distinct from free software, that is true but one has to understand that the overlapping between the two is huge. You can have open source software that is not free, that would be the case of a GPLv2-licensed software distributed in a tivoized form, meaning you get the software on a device which uses some sort of public key authentication to prevent the user from running modified versions. On the other hand, I just don't see how a free software could not be open source.ThorinMuglindir (talk) 19:56, 18 September 2012 (UTC)

I completely agree. It is conflating free software v. open source with copyleft license v. permissive license. Among other things, "traditional open source licenses such as BSD" is pretty much wrong. BSD is now an open source license, but the original one was released in 1988, a decade before the OSI was founded (1998). I'll try to be bold and rewrite it tomorrow. That will probably include removing a lot stuff that's just wrong. Superm401 - Talk 06:21, 15 November 2012 (UTC)
I've worked to address these concerns. I removed a fair amount of factually inaccurate information, made improvements to the remaining parts, and moved good/usable stuff that didn't belong in dualism up to history. Superm401 - Talk 07:56, 17 November 2012 (UTC)
My objective in writing that section was an attempt to clear up persistent confusion about FOSS. I guess I failed because almost the entire section as been removed. From a user's perspective, open source and free software are identical. Any user who tries to exercise the rights granted by free software immediately becomes a developer and is subject to its restrictions. I think including a developer's perspective is crucial to understanding FOSS. Without it, you go back to square one - confusion. Stallman knows the difference. BSD is not a "free software" license because I can use to deny a user access to my improvements to BSD-licensed code. Jdaniel905 (talk) 17:53, 28 November 2012 (UTC)
I am unsure if the removal of the section was made in good faith, but anyway, the reason I have yet to restore that section is because it lacked sources. When I got time, its on my todo-list to find suitable sources and readd the section, if noone else has time to do it before me. As for BSD and free software license, fsf consider BSD to be a free software license. To quote stallman, Releasing free software under a non-copyleft free software license is basically good (i.e., not evil), but that using copyleft is better.. for more details. Belorn (talk) 09:44, 29 November 2012 (UTC)
I had 13 direct sources and numerous Wikipedia links. I guess I thought that would be enough. I don't doubt that Stallman would prefer BSD over a proprietary license, but, as you quote, he doesn't consider that to be the same as "free software". If it were the same, neither the FSF nor this page would exist. Jdaniel905 (talk) 22:08, 29 November 2012 (UTC)
You are right, there was sources in there, through we are only talking about the first section under Dualism of FOSS. The other two are mostly just rebranded as "Recent developments" and "FOSS and Benkler's new economy", through some changes are made. It is definitive worth taking a look on what was removed, and reintegrate sourced information.

History section[edit]

Some of the changes by TechTony obscure the actual motivations of the people who started the movement. E.g. this commit says, "Reworded to seem less politically motivated" and removes parts about "freedom" and tries to deemphasize the motivations of the groups. In essence, the motivations were largely philosophically/politically motivated. It would be fine to add contrary historical evidence about the facts or motivations, but this seems like it makes things less clear without new sources. Superm401 - Talk 15:54, 17 November 2012 (UTC)

I've made a further edit. Parts of it are just improving accuracy and clarity, and shouldn't have much NPOV effect. Others are trying to strike a NPOV middle ground; this includes new phrasing, reverts in limited areas, and removal of unnecessary quotes, e.g. around individual words. Superm401 - Talk 22:02, 19 November 2012 (UTC)

Just a general comment. Please make sure that the main article and this sub-section share in consistent information. Its natural that the main article has more detailed information, but this sub-section should not imply a different motive or have anything that is in conflict with the main article. Such changes should be brought there first. Belorn (talk) 07:50, 20 November 2012 (UTC)

New headlines[edit]

Can a headline be made called "Open source software for use with non open-source hardware" with following examples:

Can a headline be made called "Open source software for use with open-source hardware" with following examples:

  • Arduino Mega ADK
  • Android OS
  • GNU radio
  • software for elektor projects[1]
  • Sugar OS (OS of OLPC)
  • RISC OS, OS of OpenRISC

— Preceding unsigned comment added by 109.130.148.24 (talk) 11:41, 4 December 2012 (UTC)

I would say no to adding such lists. List of projects are something to be avoided. Beyond WP:NOTDIR, they are a pain to maintain and are constantly being a magnet for people want to promote a product or project. Beyond that, the list you give are not sourced, ie, there is no source that claims that GNU is software for use with non open source hardware and NOT software to use to open-source hardware. Actually, I have a hard time understanding the rationality behind the list. Android OS is primary used on hardware which is not open source hardware. OLPC is not a fully open-source hardware project either, through its second laptop design XO-2 was announced to be released as open-source, but was since canceled and I have not seen any proof of the design being released. If the canceled XO-3 had their design released, or if the future X0-4 is going to have its design released, would by interesting for the OLPC article, but for now, that is too unverified. Thus, For open source software that are designed for open source hardware, the only two verifiable names on that list is the Arduino Mega ADK and RISC OS, both being developed by an open source hardware project (in some cases people refer them as open hardware project). Belorn (talk) 12:33, 4 December 2012 (UTC)
References

Use of logos[edit]

The current edit war regarding logos may seem a matter of fair-use on one side, however the result presents a biased via of the FOSS community. Lacking a better approach, deleting the entire art collection seems the only neutral way to present the information TEDickey (talk) 19:53, 18 September 2013 (UTC)

My only issue is the usage of non-free media, the rest of the logos are an editorial judgement which I will leave up to local users. Werieth (talk) 19:56, 18 September 2013 (UTC)
Actually, WP:NPOV is noted in "About Wikipedia" as being mandatory. The current presentation falls short, noticeably. TEDickey (talk) 20:10, 18 September 2013 (UTC)

Changes reverted[edit]

I've reverted what appears to be a recent fundamental rewrite of the entire article. I'm not happy with the new version, which appears to consist mostly of original research bordering on advocacy. The sweeping changes don't appear to have been discussed by the author in advance, either here or on any other talk page that I can find. I suggest that any specific changes aimed at fundamentally changing the nature of this article be discussed on the talk page first. —Psychonaut (talk) 13:19, 31 October 2013 (UTC)

Purpose of Proprietary Software Mentioned in Heading Paragraph: Disputed Sentence[edit]

At the end of the first paragraph the current article reads: This is in contrast to proprietary software, where the software is under restrictive copyright and the source code is hidden from the users, so that the rights holders (the software publishers) can sell binary executables.

I am afraid this claim is wrong in saying the necessarily restrictive copyright and the non-mandatory source code hiding features of proprietary software are intended to make the software in question profitable. This leads readers into the "FOSS and commercial software are mutually exclusive" fallacy. There are plenty of instances of gratis programs that are also proprietary. That is proprietary freeware; and there is, tough rare, FOSS whose executables are sold.

In a nutshell the intentions behind proprietary software are not limited to selling software and the article should reflect this at least by deleting from the last comma onwards. Not to mention the current sentence is unsourced. Also, it would be nice to clarify that disclosed source code is non-free-as-in-freedom and closed-source unless it has a FOSS license. --isacdaavid 21:48, 27 December 2013 (UTC)

Okay, it has been more than 2 months since I wrote this and nobody has replied, so I will forward my changes. --isacdaavid 23:30, 4 March 2014 (UTC)

NPOV - Polarizing Picture[edit]

The picture that showcases FOSS is not neutral since it is full of polarizing matters such as Bradley Manning and the "Collateral Murder" video. Is this really the best picture to showcase FOSS? Absolutely not. A picture like that will turn off a lot of people. I propose a change. I'm willing take another screenshot of a FOSS desktop with similar applications open, including Firefox, on a neutral page, like the Wikipedia front page. VLC can be playing something neutral like a video of a classical music concert, etc. 165.91.49.170 (talk) 20:27, 14 August 2014 (UTC)

I agree it is a problem. --AVRS (talk) 10:18, 15 August 2014 (UTC)