[conspire] What's wrong with "FLOSS"

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Fri Apr 15 18:15:13 PDT 2005

Quoting Zachary Mutrux (zmutrux at compumentor.org):

> When it comes to what people "actually understand," though, I suggest 
> that there is no universal solution. 

At the risk of sounding more critical than I really intend:  False dilemma.

Nothing is transparently comprehensible to everyone, and everybody has
quirks.  And yet.  And yet, we learn from experience that _in general_ 
some language is orders of magnitude more clear to audiences than other

> For an audience that knows nothing of computer programming, "open
> source" is jargon just as much as any acronym (cute or not). 

But the road to understanding is a short driveway rather than a mountain
pass with landslides.

> I generally use "open source", myself. I think Aspiration (along with 
> many others) have found that using one phrase or the other tends to 
> raise hackles among idealogues. 

As I said, one must decide what one's goal is.  An organisation doing
public outreach should, in my view, put a high premium on being
correctly understood by the public without a detailed glossary.  Note
that understanding "FLOSS" is an _iterative_ learning process:  You have
to understand 1. "free software", 2. "open source", and only _then_ 3.

That's not outreach, that's erecting barriers.

(I should stress that you're perfectly welcome to call it George, for
all it matters to me.  This is all about free as in freedom, after all.
;->  )

More information about the conspire mailing list