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Preface: I use the terms "Open Source" and "Free Software" synonymously most of the time. This is not because I want to dismiss the specific efforts of one of those groups behind it but because in my opinion the differences are too small to make the distinction when talking about free software / open source in a general context.

I am aware of the this and that but that are only different approaches to the same goal. The Free Software Definition does not exclude the terms of the Open Source Definition and the other way around. Sometimes people equate "Free Software" with "GPL licensed software", but there are a lot of licenses which give you the freedoms of "Free Software", including the BSD-style ones. On the other hand the OSI approved licenses also include the Free Software licenses.

As a programmer I prefer to publish my software under the terms of the GPL, but as a user it doesn't make much sense to stress the differences.

Update: Nowadays however, I prefer the term "Free Software" over "Open Source", because there is a difference when doing advocacy (like I do sometimes). And I appreciate the approach of the FSF very much.


Copylight (cc) 2001-2006 Stephan Uhlmann. Last change: 2008-01-09
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