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Questions tagged [terminology]

For questions about the terms used in the field: their use, effects, and meanings.

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2 votes
1 answer
64 views

How does avoiding branding a free software as free and only mentioning its open source aspect help selling the product easier?

Eric Raymond in Goodbye, "free software"; hello, "open source" said: the term [free software] makes a lot of corporate types nervous. While this does not intrinsically bother me ...
2 votes
2 answers
166 views

How do I make a partially-free open-core product that permits custom plugins?

I have a native application I would like to release under a copyleft license. The application embeds a Lua interpreter and exposes an application-specific interface to Lua code. I would like to ...
2 votes
1 answer
107 views

Term to describe an open-source fork that wishes to remain a fork

Is there a common way to describe an actively-maintained open-source fork that wants to remain a fork because it makes changes that don't align with the upstream maintainer's desires? Example: Alice ...
19 votes
2 answers
905 views

Are Copyleft and Share-Alike synonyms?

Copyleft and Share-Alike are two very similar types of licences. Here is how Wikipedia defines them: Copyleft (a play of the word copyright) is the practice of offering people the right to freely ...
34 votes
2 answers
21k views

What exactly is Tivoization and why didn't Linus Torvalds like it in GPLv3?

I still don't understand what Tivoization is and why Linus Torvalds did not like it. Can you explain to me the big idea of Tivoization?
16 votes
3 answers
2k views

Derivatives and Forks... Is there a difference?

The terms fork and derivative have really been bugging me as I always seem to imply that they're different, but then in many ways the same. You hear the term fork many times on platforms such as Git ...
3 votes
1 answer
239 views

Definition of a modified code

It may seem to be a bit silly question, but I couldn't find a strict definition that would address my specific situation (I appreciate I'm not the first to experience it though). There's a library ...
16 votes
6 answers
1k views

Is Open Source Software a subset of free software?

Is Open Source Software a subset of free software? I was recently asked this and realized I was unsure the exact answer. I understand that free software is not a type of open source software, but I ...
16 votes
1 answer
3k views

What is the correct term for software whose source code is available only to read?

The software is distributed under these terms: Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person obtaining a copy of this software and associated documentation files (the "Software&...
10 votes
4 answers
4k views

Is "open software" the same as "open source" software?

A company sells a closed source software product - one that they actively also obfuscate - and market it as "open and flexible". Similarly there is no public issue tracking and when major exploits are ...
2 votes
2 answers
733 views

GPL v2: what does "distribution" mean in terms of cloud apps?

I'm thinking about writing a cloud app that uses wasm-git. wasm-git is licensed under GPL v2. Since wasm-git runs in the browser, users of my cloud app would get a copy of wasm-git when they open my ...
4 votes
1 answer
231 views

What is coherent open source?

What is "coherent" open source? How is it different from other forms of open source?
33 votes
2 answers
7k views

Is the term 'open source' a trademark?

A few months ago, MongoDB introduced a new license called SSPL following some conflicts with AWS. Later they presented this license to the Open Source Initiative (OSI) for approval for it to be called ...
0 votes
1 answer
1k views

what's the meaning of `Executable File `? and the `sloc` of github hint?

When I read the GitHub opensource project code: I see the Executable File 67 lines (60 sloc) 2.42 KB in front of the content. what's the meaning of Executable File? and the sloc? and when I ...
4 votes
2 answers
609 views

Term or phrase for a 'soft fork'?

I've made some changes to an open source project but I haven't (yet) been able to get those changes merged into the upstream project source control repo. I'd like to publish my fork of the project ...
2 votes
1 answer
87 views

What is the term for a user who can merge pull requests?

In an open source project, such as one typically found on GitHub, there are users who can submit pull requests and users who can merge them. It is my understanding that "contributor" is the term for ...
63 votes
9 answers
9k views

Why do some people refer to Linux as GNU/Linux?

In some cases I have noticed that some people say GNU/Linux instead of just Linux. Why is that so? Do both terms mean the same or is there a subtle difference?
5 votes
2 answers
223 views

Are there really multiple “conditions” given in the MIT license?

It has always bothered me that the MIT license uses the word “conditions” but only seems to list one condition: Permission is hereby granted […] to any person obtaining a copy of this software […] ...
13 votes
3 answers
587 views

What does it mean to license a patent to software?

I’m learning about the Eclipse Public License. According to Wikipedia, it “requires that anyone distributing the work grant every recipient a license to any patents that they might hold that cover the ...
4 votes
1 answer
266 views

What is GPL leakage?

I heard the term GPL leakage mentioned very recently in a presentation from a well qualified speaker from MongoDB at an event for developers & integrators in the cloud computing market. I've ...
3 votes
1 answer
108 views

Is deploying a program to a virtual machine not on my hardware count as "distribution"?

I am permitted to mix not open-source code with GPL code on my computer if I don't distribute it. Is deploying it to a VM on a remote server considered distribution?
1 vote
2 answers
122 views

What truly defines open source? Can someone call something open source and charge?

I have recently been looking for open source dating software to build upon and I keep seeing things like this: www.skadate.com/open-source.php www.a-dater.com www.abk-soft.com ph7cms.com Which ...
18 votes
4 answers
3k views

What is copyleft?

Straight up: I've never heard of the term 'copyleft' before. The fact that I get that little red squiggle under it tells me it's not really a word. Concisely, my question is, what does it mean to you? ...
8 votes
1 answer
81 views

Term and precedents for pulling out a part of a software project into a new project

Let's say an open source software project has a component which could be useful as a standalone project. Examples could include Django's event signalling framework, which could be useful for other ...
13 votes
1 answer
2k views

Why is the definition of "System Libraries" in GPLv3 phrased the way it is?

I'm curious about the definition of "System Libraries" The “System Libraries” of an executable work include anything, other than the work as a whole, that (a) is included in the normal form of ...
30 votes
4 answers
18k views

What's the difference between permissive and copyleft licenses?

I've heard both terms thrown around, but I'm a bit unclear as to how the licenses differ. How is copyleft different to a permissive license? Is copyleft just the standard for open source licenses?
1 vote
1 answer
150 views

Which front-end agreement types go well with a MIT license?

I've decided on using a MIT license for a software project. Now I would like to go ahead and add agreements to the front-end of a website that uses the MIT licensed software. I looked at the template ...
20 votes
4 answers
12k views

What is the difference between free as in beer and free as in speech?

In open source the term "free" is often used, sometimes with a qualifier, "free as in beer" or "free as in speech". What is meant with these qualifications?
34 votes
4 answers
21k views

What does 'upstream' mean?

In some documents or blogs about development in open source projects, you can read stuff like 'upstream developer' or 'upstream fix'. What does that mean?
25 votes
4 answers
28k views

What exactly is a pull request?

This branched out from my previous question: Can I select who can contribute to my Open Source Project? Having never worked on open source software before, and developing my own mini applications ...
10 votes
4 answers
7k views

What is the relation and/or difference between freeware and free software?

Freeware and free software sound very similar. What is the relation between them?
8 votes
1 answer
337 views

Why does the FSF continue to use the word "free" if it's ambiguous?

The word "free" is often considered to be unclear, and ambiguous. As such, the word is often used in conjunction with the word "libre", as seen in this answer. In the spirit of clarity, the word "...
5 votes
1 answer
380 views

Does a file format constitute an API?

This is an attempt to break down: Does a host application's license apply to plug-ins written for it? into the underlying questions. Assume the following scenario: Two programs 'communicate' via ...
22 votes
3 answers
650 views

Can a software license meet one of the FSF's and OSI's definitions without meeting the other?

I know that Free Software (this means the concept of free as in freedom, not software that does not cost anything) and Open Source have two distinct definitions. In practice though, they turn out to ...
19 votes
1 answer
2k views

GPL v3 "convey" vs. GPL v2 "distribute"

I've noticed that the GNU GPL version 3 uses the word "convey" where version 2 used "distriubte": GNU GPLv3: To “convey” a work means any kind of propagation that enables other parties to make or ...
18 votes
2 answers
488 views

Is there a term that means "Free Software and/*or* Open Source (Software)"?

The term Free Software is typically associated with software licensed under an FSF-approved license (The Free Software Definition), and the term Open Source (Software) is typically associated with ...
41 votes
3 answers
25k views

What is the difference between FOSS and FLOSS?

FOSS stands for "Free and Open Source Software", whereas FLOSS stands for "Free/Libre/Open Source Software". The use of libre denotes the idea that the software is "free as in free speech, not free ...