open source or free software?
There has been some chat on my recent blog post and #debian-devel
about whether the terms "open source" or "free software" provide more
correct or useful terminology.
I had more frequently come across the "free software" definition, as it
is used in "_Free Software_ Foundation" or "Debian _Free Software_
Guidelines" and that is what has influenced the relevant section of the
Literally, "open source" implies you can see the source. I personally
feel it is a term that has both been hijacked and also used by many
projects that publish source code without a free license (e.g. JSHint
claims to be open source but it has inherited files from JSLint with
a non-free license).
"JSHint is open source and will always stay this way."
"To be honest, I'm getting tired of these not-true-open-source talks.
Out of all things I need to do with JSHint this issue is probably the
least important one."
Some people feel that the term "open source" should only be used for
software that is also free but I feel that is something that is beyond
anybody's control because "open" is such a generic word.
The aim of the blog post is to give a clear and useful message to
students who will hopefully have an interest in free software, not to
suggest which is the better definition. I'm actively thinking about
updating that section but would appreciate any feedback on this.