Today, there are different terms in use to describe free and open source software. This article gives you a short overview about those terms and a short reason why I prefer to use FOSS.

Free software

GNU prefers to use the term "Free software". The reason for me not to use this term are:

  • The abreviation is "FS", which is ambiguous. "FS" is often used as the abreviation for "filesystem".
  • The term does not tell you directly, that you also have access to the source (main reason one).
  • I think people can easily think free software is just free as in "nothing to pay for it" (main reason two).
  • I do not like to pronounce it. Think about "I've like effess." Nothing my tongue likes.

Open source software

I liked to use the term "Open source software" some time. Perhaps because it was used often to talk about what I associate with GPL'ed or BSD-licensed software. But then, one day, I found out about the above mentioned GNU free software definition and I began to think about both terms. In contrast to free software, open source software (OSS) is much more known, but my reasons not to use it are:

  • It lacks the "free as in copy it as you like" definition (main reason).
  • I think about the "Open sound system", if I read "OSS", which is not what I want to talk about.

Free and open source software (FOSS)

The simplest solution is to combine both terms and finish all problems. So using FOSS, I get the following advantages and disadvantages:

  • It is neither an abreviation for "filesystem" nor "open sound system".
  • I can pronounce it: "foss."
  • It is short and simple and contains everything I love about FOSS.
  • Other people may not like it, because I introduce yet another acronym.
  • It combines the two terms of both "worlds", so everyone can be happy.