76

The GNU project was created to produce a free software alternative to Unix. They were able to produce most of the programs an operating system would provide, but their kernel, the GNU Hurd, was not stable enough to rely upon. Linux is a kernel, the most base level of an operating system, and was created and published under the GNU GPL, a free license. It ...


40

International trademarks can be searched online in the WIPO Global Brand Database. “open source” is trademarked in some areas, none relevant for software OSI holds a US trademark for “Open Source Initiative Approved License”, but no trademark for “open source” by itself So from a legal perspective, anyone could use this term. But from an open source ...


39

Tivolization, named after TiVo that widely used it, is a practice of devices running free software, but placing restrictions (such as digital signatures) that block running modified versions of the software on the device. An argument can be made (as Richard Stallman actually did), that such a device could redistribute the source code of the GPLed software ...


34

Consider the obvious analogy (from which the term flows - pun intended) ... water in a river flows 'downstream' and thus 'upstream' is the source from which the water comes. This analogy is deeply embedded in software development, so it's no mere coincidence that we use terms like 'head', 'source', 'upstream', 'downstream' and even 'flow' extensively in the ...


27

The OSI failed to secure a trademark on "open source" in 1999, and the term remains not trademarked. You may use "open source" to mean virtually anything you want, without legal ramifications, but to use it in a way that contravenes the OSI's definition may put you at significant social disadvantage with anyone who enjoys the culturally consistent ...


26

Source available is a common term used to describe such licenses.


23

French Skills to the test! Libre -> Free as in Freedom. I'm Free as a bird! Gratuit -> Free as in Free Food. The Food is Free! People started using the term FLOSS to help make the vision that the software is libre, and not free. FLOSS meant Free/Libre Open Source Software, whereas FOSS would mean Free and Open Source Software. This is less clear, as FOSS ...


23

Linux vs. GNU/Linux Terminology and History-in-Brief In common usage, the terms Linux and GNU/Linux IPA: /ɡəˈnuː slæʃ ˈlɪnəks/ † [though often said sans 'slash', the FSF recommendation is to pronounce it] refer to the same thing: the software distribution running on a computer that includes Linux, the operating-system kernel, consisting of low-level ...


21

The Free Software Foundation invented the term Copyleft. Here's what they have to say about it: Copyleft is a general method for making a program or other work free, and requiring all modified and extended versions of the program to be free as well. The simplest way to make a program free software is to put it in the public domain, uncopyrighted. This ...


20

The term "open source" has a broad base of speakers who use the term to refer strictly to software licensed under terms in compliance with the Open Source Initiative's Open Source Definition document. I am unaware of any community of speakers that acknowledges a formal definition for "open software." Broadly, "open" might indicate some ability to integrate ...


19

As the other answer says, "open software" is not generally used as a synonym for "open source software". If I heard a vendor describe their application as "open and flexible", I would generally interpret that as meaning that it provides many hooks for customizing the behavior, but without actually making the source code available. As a result, you're ...


18

Copyleft is actually a term coined by Richard Stallman (also called RMS) who is the pioneer of the Free Software Movement which ultimately resulted in today's world where people take using FOSS software so much for granted. Stallman originally used this term to distinguish his way of free software licensing (GNU GPL/LGPL) from the other Copyright licenses ...


16

The GPL FAQ states: Is “convey” in GPLv3 the same thing as what GPLv2 means by “distribute”? Yes, more or less. During the course of enforcing GPLv2, we learned that some jurisdictions used the word “distribute” in their own copyright laws, but gave it different meanings. We invented a new term to make our intent clear and avoid any problems ...


16

It's to distinguish GNU/Linux from other operating environments built on Linux. Each of the following environments combines Linux proper, which is a kernel, with a different "userland", or set of userspace programs and libraries. In rough order of appearance: GNU/Linux is a fairly complete clone of the functionality of the UNIX system. Desktop and server ...


15

The concept of an open system in engineering predates the concept of open source by a few decades. The use and popularity of the concept in software development occurred roughly the same time as, if a bit earlier than, open source - with the development and rise of Unix in the 1980s. An open software is one that can be easily integrated with other software. ...


14

The term "pull request" comes from git, where the git pull command is used to merge a different repository into your local one. So if someone else has a copy of your git repository, and makes changes to it that they would like you to incorporate, they can ask you to pull the changes from their repository; they're requesting a pull, hence the term "pull ...


14

What's the difference? Is there a difference at all? The obvious difference is that "derivative (work)" is a legal term, and "fork" is a software term. For example, the musical and motion picture "West Side Story" (by Jerome Robbins, Robert Wise, Arthur Laurents and Ernest Lehman) is a derivative work of the stage play "Romeo and Juliet" (by William ...


14

Freeware is software that is released and can be downloaded and used without cost. No other rights are implied by the freeware label (although the author might offer more). So freeware doesn't imply: access to the source code commercial use right to redistribute right to change All things free software does allow. Free software is defined by the four ...


13

tl;dr: No. It depends on the definitions of the terms "Open Source Software" and "Free Software". A common definition (and in my opinion it’s the one that should be used, otherwise the scope of the terms will be subjective): Free Software is software licensed under an FSF-approved software license. (on the basis of The Free Software ...


11

Yes. See the examples from my answer to the question "Is Open Source Software a subset of free software?": Example 1: Free Software, but not Open Source Software Netscape’s early versions of Mozilla were released under the Netscape Public License version 1.0 (see its Wikipedia article). This license is approved by the FSF, but it is not approved ...


11

I think FOSS and FLOSS are synonyms. (The FSF agrees, but recommends to use FLOSS.) "Free Software" refers to The Free Software Definition, "Open Source" refers to the The Open Source Definition. The terms FOSS and FLOSS are used to refer to software that is licensed under a license that the FSF and (not or) the OSI approved. In both cases, the "F" stands ...


11

A practical example of the difference between software and patent licenses is FFmpeg. FFmpeg has support for many audiovisual codecs, many of which are covered by software patents in some countries. If you were to obtain a copy of the source code of FFmpeg and you were somewhere without software patents, like say Antarctica, then you could use it completely ...


10

The terms "copyleft" and "ShareAlike" both refer to reciprocal licensing, in which downstream users receive the same rights to your changes that you received for the original work. But copyleft is a stricter concept than ShareAlike, adding a requirement that derivatives be made available in a form that gives downstream users the technical ability to make ...


10

Short answer: Copyleft is a term coined by the FSF and implies that if you distribute a derivative work of a work under a copyleft license, you must distribute the derivative under the same license as the original work (it may however be combined with works under a permissive license that is deemed "compatible", read on). Some people use the pejorative name ...


10

Copyleft is a general idea, not a specific license. It's used for talking about licenses. It means the general idea of using copyright to ensure open redistribution. Since copyright is usually used for the opposite of that, copyleft is copyright "turned on its head", thus the punning name. As for why people would use that term instead of "Share-Alike": ...


9

From Open Source Initiatives FAQ: "Free software" and "open source software" are two terms for the same thing: software released under licenses that guarantee a certain, specific set of freedoms. Open Source arose from people who supported the FSF, but later branched out over the decision of philosophy and marketing. There are differences, of course, ...


9

If you have distributed version control systems, every developer has a copy of the full repository. If you change something to the software, you commit your changes to your local repository. If different repositories should have these changes, you can push the changes (moving changes to another repository you have the right to write to) or pull the changes (...


8

Free as in beer, is like getting something without payment. Getting food from the community fair (There's one in Toronto that gives free hamburgers to the community every year), something from friends, these are things that you receive without making a payment. You don't pay money. Free as in speech relates to the Free Software Movement. To recognize this, ...


8

Prahlad provides an excellent answer on the origin of the term, but doesn't expand that much on the legal implications of using the term. In summary, it forces any modifications to copyleft works to also be released under the same terms. First off, copyleft has no legal significance. This means that if you were to say that a project is copyleft, it doesn'...


8

Is what they are doing legal? It certainly seems that way. The phrase "open source" is just a pair of words. Anyone can use the phrase to refer to some kind of "source" that is "open" in some respect. The Open Source Initiative wrote the Open Source Definition (OSD), which is what most people mean when they say "open ...


Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible