"Free software" confuses the hell out of people because it's taken to mean gratis.

"Open source" focuses only on source and can still be big corpo, closed development, community excluding.

So what about just "open software"?

Software where everything is open, not just the source but also the development and the community.

Says nothing one way or another about price, focuses on multi faceted openness.

@freedcreative that's quite appropriate. I have seen discussions where they propose terms like "libre software" or "communal software". I think it's quite hard to popularize new terms, though.

@freedcreative Fully agree. This "libre-vs-gratis" - thing has been a terminology issue ever since, that's why maybe the term "Software Libre" is generally better to use. With GAFAM and tracking-based "gratis" surveillance capitalist tools, we really should do much more to emphasize that more ethical software also will have to deal with more ethical means of software funding (which also sheds a difficult light on things such as "Google Summer Of Code"). 😐

@z428 @freedcreative "open" makes me think too much of open office floor plans, all the reasons why LibreOffice had to fork away from OpenOffice, and the whole corpo open source bait-and-switch ("and now they even take out the 'source'!")

"libre" *at worst* makes me think of Nacho Libre which aint even bad and might be kinda on message anyway

@z428 @freedcreative practically though i find myself just parsing "foss" as though it were a word in its own right

Freedom software.

People are fairly clued in today, they know there's 'that Linux software'.

You can say "#foss software like #linux" and ask them whether they know what foss is.

Tends to work well on our end.
@z428 @freedcreative

@dsfgs @z428 @freedcreative yes to the latter part of this post

as to the former, too many "freedom fries" and similar flashbacks :oh_no: circumventing which is one of the nice side effects of a non-English word like libre

Circular software

Renewable software

Sustainable software.

Regenerative software.

You can't get #theWest to roll their tongue for #softwareFreedom. They are too lazy, or proud.
@z428 @freedcreative


Really like both "Ethical Software" and "Sustainable Software". Maybe in the 2020s with todays social and cultural issues, we need to rethink what kind of priorities to set, considering both the values promoted by Open Source and Software Libre, and other things we need to keep in mind (like, whether it's good to use "Libre" software that has been made possible because a developer with a good proprietary-software dayjob has spare time to work on it).

@carcinopithecus @freedcreative

@z428 @dsfgs @carcinopithecus @freedcreative There are a few so called "ethical software" licenses already - they are nonfree as they restrict usage of the software based on arbitrary limitations, so I reject them entirely.

I reject "open source" too, as it's specifically intended to avoid informing people about the importance of freedom (plus it's easily exploitable).

Free software confuses people at the start, as they take it to mean gratis, but once you explain that it's about freedom and not price, people will not make the same mistake again.

Libre software is an acceptable alternative name, the only issue is that it's not understood outside of English.

A dayjob writing proprietary software is not carrying out good, it's carrying out evil - but I don't care as long as you don't justify your actions by saying you're doing a good thing.


At least in German, it seems people have accepted "Software Libre" (as well as Open Source or "FLOSS" as English terminology). But to get to the dayjob thing... well, I generally agree with you but see things from a different angle: If Software Libre is done as a spare-time project, that seems a rather weird dependency because in this case, Software Libre would require proprietary software to actually enable its developer to spend time ...

@dsfgs @freedcreative @carcinopithecus


... working on it. Expectation towards "sustainability" would be: Software Libre developers are able to live off developing Software Libre without being required to have some kind of other job paying their bills. And from that point of view, we seem to be pretty far from "perfect" these days. 😟

@dsfgs @freedcreative @carcinopithecus

I literally just put "free software" in the footer of the latest project I'm working on 🤦

@freedcreative you don’t need to reinvent the wheel, just use the definition of Free Software from Free Software Foundation

@freedcreative I quite like this because it can be used to include the various open access licenses that are not officially blessed by the OSI.

@mcneely That's true, there are some very interesting licenses popping up that are still driven by ethics and openness but with differing high level goals.

@freedcreative @alcinnz FLOSS terminology does need to be worked on. Mostly, negative terminology needs to be defined to easily express ownership of the project.

There is good open source where the project is owned by a community (“community source”) and bad where a project is owned by a corp to get free work and free marketing for a proprietary product (“corporate source”).

Back in the day, there was shareware (closed source, limited until money was exchanged), freeware (closed source, not limited), and open source (open source, not limited). Freeware and shareware kind of got forgotten about, but might be able to be revived to describe certain projects.

What about “openware”?

@freedcreative The term "software libre" has been around for a while. We might as well use it.

@freedcreative I think you're really on to something here. Sofware like Android and Telegram is definitely in a different category than, for example, LibreOffice. Their development style is fundamentally different. And this is entirely independant of any ethical considerations. [1/3]

@freedcreative In fact, I think that dimension is an entirely different discussion anyway. Putting the "ethical" label on software that cannot be translated into different languages, that is designed to track and surveil or that can only run on high-end systems, inaccessible to most of the world population, is misleading at best. [2/3]

@freedcreative Anyway, I like your suggestion of "open software".

I also like "sustainable software". Partly because it's more recognizable as a new term but also because it forces us to think about certain aspects of the project, such as the bus factor. How sustainable is a project where development depends almost entirely on a single developer? On the other hand, it complicates the matter further. Blockchain projects could easily be labeled as open, but sustainable? [3/3]

@iooioio That's a really good point too. In terms of putting it all in a sentence, I've started saying "Open, community driven software".

The sustainability part I'm thinking probably has to be added with context, because it's often a goal rather than a quality that can be established from the outset. E.g. "Let's do X to keep this project sustainable."

It's a bit tricky too because there's both environmental and financial sustainability & sometimes the two wrestle for priority.


I'm looking at this conversation, and I see a load of people obsessing over the meaning of words, and adding more words to clarify. Sentences, paragraphs...

To which people who consider 'more words' to be 'oh god one of those things cripes I don't want that give me something simple I can use' to run away to commercial, closed software.

I'd argue it's time to define a new term and use it. The term can have the definition which is longer, but it's a single term.

And not an acryonym, those don't work across languages, and absolutely not a bacronym.

Yes, it's time for _branding._

Take one of the things that the closed source, commercial folks do - and turn it on it's ear. Use that method against them and for us.

Oh, and no contests to come up with the word, and no long 80 page diatribes about it. Pool 8 or 10 ideas, bandy them about, see what sticks.

Maybe ask some _kids_ what word they'd use, and take one of those words.

@freedcreative That's a limitation of english. Other people have separate words for free as in speech and free as in beer
@freedcreative I don't think "open" communicates any idea of *user freedom* in any case, be it "open source" or "open software"

@freedcreative I tried to make "free source" a thing a while back. i think it makes more sense since a lot of the restrictions that are lifted are restrictions to the source code rather than the software itself.

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