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<title>Why we speak about Free Software</title>
<h1>We speak about Free Software</h1>
<p>Free Software is often referred to as "Open Source." This is a
result of an attempt by the <a href="">Open
Source Initiative</a> (OSI) to create a marketing campaign for Free
<p>The OSI set out to maintain the integrity of the movement and
prevent abuse by proprietary vendors by introducing "Open Source" as a
trademark for Free Software; but this initiative failed.</p>
<p>Examining the development of the Open Source Initiative after three
years, it becomes apparent that the reasons to prefer the term Free
Software have become even more true. Speaking of Free Software or the
equivalent term in other languages offers many advantages, which we
explain below.</p>
<h3>"Free Software" is easier to understand</h3>
<p>Although some people say that using the term "free" creates
ambiguity, many languages have separate terms referring to freedom and
price. In these languages, the term "free" is not ambiguous. It may be
in others, including English, but in those misunderstandings can
easily be avoided by pointing out that free refers to freedom, not
<p>The terminology "Open Source" refers to having access to the source
code. But access to the source code is only a precondition for two of
the four freedoms that define Free Software. Many people do not
understand that access to the source code alone is not enough. "Free
Software" avoids catering to this relatively common misunderstanding.</p>
<h3>Free Software is harder to abuse</h3>
<p>Unfortunately many companies have started calling their products
"Open Source" if at least some parts of the source code can be
seen. Users buy this software believing they are purchasing something
"as good as GNU/Linux" because it claims to follow the same
<p>We should not allow proprietary vendors to abuse people's enthusiasm
like this. Since the "Open Source" trademarking initiative failed,
there is no way to prevent abuse of the term that becomes possible
because of the aforementioned misunderstanding.</p>
<h3>Free Software is well-defined</h3>
<p>Experience in science and philosophy has shown that a good and
clear definition is to be preferred.</p>
<p>The Free Software Definition of the Free Software Foundation with
its four freedoms is the clearest definition existing today.</p>
<h3>Free Software provides additional value</h3>
<p>Unlike Open Source, Free Software provides more than just a
technical model how to develop better software, it provides a
philosophy. Companies can learn and profit from the philosophy and
background of Free Software.</p>
<h3>Free Software offers freedom</h3>
<p>Free Software provides the freedoms to </p>
<li>run the program, for any purpose.</li>
<li>study how the program works, and adapt it to your needs.</li>
<li>redistribute copies.</li>
<li>improve the program, and release your improvements to the public, so that the whole community benefits.</li>
<p>Because of these four freedoms, Free Software offers freedom to
learn, freedom to teach, freedom of competition, freedom of speech and
freedom of choice.</p>
<p>Freedom counts!</p>
<p>For all these reasons we made the conscious decision to avoid the term
Open Source and speak of Free Software or the equivalent term in other
<p>We encourage you to make the same decision.</p>
<p>An initiative of the<br />
Free Software Foundation Europe</p>
<hr />
<h2>We speak about Free Software</h2>
<br />
<p>This campaign was started for Free Software companies, but in this
special case we decided to make an exception to the rule:</p><p class="indent">
<a href="">Bruce Perens</a>, co-founder of the Open
Source movement and author of the &quot;Debian Free Software
Guidelines&quot; and the &quot;Open Source Definition&quot; asked us
to add his name to the list and make it known that he also speaks
about Free Software and supports the &quot;We speak about Free
Software&quot; campaign.</p>
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