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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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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?
Raystafarian's user avatar
22 votes
3 answers
656 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 ...
Mnementh's user avatar
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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 ...
Trevor Clarke's user avatar
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 ...
Zizouz212's user avatar
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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?
Ricardo's user avatar
  • 535
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?
Martijn's user avatar
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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 ...
user avatar
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&...
andreoss's user avatar
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41 votes
3 answers
26k 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 ...
HDE 226868's user avatar
  • 1,615
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?
Mnementh's user avatar
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18 votes
2 answers
495 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 ...
unor's user avatar
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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 ...
Zizouz212's user avatar
  • 6,469
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 ...
11Kilobytes's user avatar
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?
Martijn's user avatar
  • 9,344
5 votes
1 answer
382 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 ...
kdopen's user avatar
  • 6,967
4 votes
2 answers
628 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 ...
Kenny Evitt's user avatar