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  5. <title>Why we speak about Free Software</title>
  6. </head>
  7. <body>
  8. <h1>We speak about Free Software</h1>
  9. <p>Free Software is often referred to as "Open Source." This is a
  10. result of an attempt by the <a href="http://www.opensource.org/">Open
  11. Source Initiative</a> (OSI) to create a marketing campaign for Free
  12. Software.</p>
  13. <p>The OSI set out to maintain the integrity of the movement and
  14. prevent abuse by proprietary vendors by introducing "Open Source" as a
  15. trademark for Free Software; but this initiative failed.</p>
  16. <p>Examining the development of the Open Source Initiative after three
  17. years, it becomes apparent that the reasons to prefer the term Free
  18. Software have become even more true. Speaking of Free Software or the
  19. equivalent term in other languages offers many advantages, which we
  20. explain below.</p>
  21. <h3>"Free Software" is easier to understand</h3>
  22. <p>Although some people say that using the term "free" creates
  23. ambiguity, many languages have separate terms referring to freedom and
  24. price. In these languages, the term "free" is not ambiguous. It may be
  25. in others, including English, but in those misunderstandings can
  26. easily be avoided by pointing out that free refers to freedom, not
  27. price.</p>
  28. <p>The terminology "Open Source" refers to having access to the source
  29. code. But access to the source code is only a precondition for two of
  30. the four freedoms that define Free Software. Many people do not
  31. understand that access to the source code alone is not enough. "Free
  32. Software" avoids catering to this relatively common misunderstanding.</p>
  33. <h3>Free Software is harder to abuse</h3>
  34. <p>Unfortunately many companies have started calling their products
  35. "Open Source" if at least some parts of the source code can be
  36. seen. Users buy this software believing they are purchasing something
  37. "as good as GNU/Linux" because it claims to follow the same
  38. principle.</p>
  39. <p>We should not allow proprietary vendors to abuse people's enthusiasm
  40. like this. Since the "Open Source" trademarking initiative failed,
  41. there is no way to prevent abuse of the term that becomes possible
  42. because of the aforementioned misunderstanding.</p>
  43. <h3>Free Software is well-defined</h3>
  44. <p>Experience in science and philosophy has shown that a good and
  45. clear definition is to be preferred.</p>
  46. <p>The Free Software Definition of the Free Software Foundation with
  47. its four freedoms is the clearest definition existing today.</p>
  48. <h3>Free Software provides additional value</h3>
  49. <p>Unlike Open Source, Free Software provides more than just a
  50. technical model how to develop better software, it provides a
  51. philosophy. Companies can learn and profit from the philosophy and
  52. background of Free Software.</p>
  53. <h3>Free Software offers freedom</h3>
  54. <p>Free Software provides the freedoms to </p>
  55. <ul>
  56. <li>run the program, for any purpose.</li>
  57. <li>study how the program works, and adapt it to your needs.</li>
  58. <li>redistribute copies.</li>
  59. <li>improve the program, and release your improvements to the public, so that the whole community benefits.</li>
  60. </ul>
  61. <p>Because of these four freedoms, Free Software offers freedom to
  62. learn, freedom to teach, freedom of competition, freedom of speech and
  63. freedom of choice.</p>
  64. <p>Freedom counts!</p>
  65. <p>For all these reasons we made the conscious decision to avoid the term
  66. Open Source and speak of Free Software or the equivalent term in other
  67. languages.</p>
  68. <p>We encourage you to make the same decision.</p>
  69. <p>An initiative of the<br />
  70. Free Software Foundation Europe</p>
  71. <hr />
  72. <h2>We speak about Free Software</h2>
  73. <speakers/>
  74. <br />
  75. <p>This campaign was started for Free Software companies, but in this
  76. special case we decided to make an exception to the rule:</p><p class="indent">
  77. <a href="http://perens.com/">Bruce Perens</a>, co-founder of the Open
  78. Source movement and author of the &quot;Debian Free Software
  79. Guidelines&quot; and the &quot;Open Source Definition&quot; asked us
  80. to add his name to the list and make it known that he also speaks
  81. about Free Software and supports the &quot;We speak about Free
  82. Software&quot; campaign.</p>
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