Voice of the Masses: Free Software vs open source – what do you use?

It might seem like a pernickety argument, but “Free Software” and “open source” emphasise different things. Free Software, as defined by the mighty Richard Stallman (RMS), stresses the importance of freedom for users and programmers to share things with their neighbours, for the betterment of society. Open source, meanwhile, was a term created to be more appealing to businesses, highlighting the practical benefits of having source code that anyone can look at.

RMS argues that “open source” misses the point, but a counter argument is that the name “Free Software” can sound like “free as in beer” – like malware-ridden Windows freeware. So we want to hear from you: which term do you use? Is it really important to you? Do you think RMS should have chosen a better word than “Free” originally, such as “Libre”?

Let us know your musings and we’ll read out the best in our next podcast!


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