'Open source' is not 'free software'

Conflating 'open source' and 'free software' undermines free software.
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In the open source universe, using terms such as FLOSS (Free/Libre and Open Source Software) is common and represents a casual conflation of the terms open source and free software, which are often used interchangeably. I would be remiss if I didn't also admit that I have been guilty of same. I won't be doing that anymore—or at least I'll try not to—for a simple reason: Using the terms interchangeably is dangerous to the goals of free software and open media advocates (read "anti-DRM"). To continue this practice is to undermine beliefs that are fundamental to free software and associated movement.

Free software is about freedom

Free software is a social movement, with nary a hint of business interests—it exists in the realm of religion and philosophy. Free software is a way of life with a strong moral code. Central to the spirit of free software is the idea that everyone should be able to use, modify, and share, with a defined limitation that you can't modify without sharing. This is the origin of the "free software is a virus" meme that makes the GNU GPL seem especially scary to some business folks. To embrace free software is also to embrace sharing culture and mandate sharing, which is a step too far for most businesses. The point of free software was to undermine the existing order of proprietary Unix vendors and enforce principles of sharing. And when it comes to espousing that freedom, it's difficult to embrace the free software culture and philosophy without also acknowledging the onging fight for unlocked devices, open media formats, net neutrality, and safety from private as well as government surveillance. For the rest of this post, I'll use "Free Software" as shorthand for all of those movements

Open source is about something else entirely: Supply chain efficiency

When I wrote There is no Open Source Community a decade ago, I asked the question, "Why do developers release open source code?" As it turns out, there are good reasons for doing so from an operations standpoint.

To embrace open source is to embrace a development model that utilizes a decentralized supply chain. Whereas before, proprietary vendors would control the entire software supply chain in-house, the open source model directly refutes that approach. The open source model is about using common components of multiple origins to achieve higher efficiency and agility in creating software-based products and services.

Initially, open source projects did heavily use GPL'd software, due to the fact that the GNU project was started some 10 years before the first Linux kernel, and at least 15 years before the term open source was coined. The effect of this head start was that by the time open source as a business-friendly concept gained steam, there was already a wealth of GPL'd code—not to mention a well-developed culture of sharing.

That there is now a trend of new open source projects migrating away from copyleft GPL-style licenses toward "liberal" Apache-style licenses should come as no surprise. In retrospect, this was inevitable. In a world defined by business interests and not philosophy, enforced sharing doesn't really make sense. Sure, one could argue that it does. After all, lots of companies have formed profitable ecosystems around GPL'd GNU and Linux code. But let's assume that most business types disagree with the whole enforced-sharing bit.

In the Apache-style open source model, developers can choose whether or not to release their modifications. They often do, simply because they have realized the benefits of participating in open source ecosystems—but there are many who sometimes do not. In an open source world, this simply doesn't matter. If the point of open source development is to optimize your supply chain and economies of scale, who cares about sharing?

Open source victory

It's important to remember that in The Cathedral and the Bazaar Eric S Raymond specifically called out the open source model as superior, which was the beginning of the great cultural divide: Open source was all about better software and "given enough eyes, all bugs are shallow"; and free software was about an enlightened existence through sharing. The point of view that open source was a superior model turned out to be mostly correct, as open source has become the preferred model for technology innovation. Open source processes could give vendors a competitive advantage, if used properly, and open source principles could allow projects to function more efficiently.

Ironically, it's this impressive open source victory—or at least our interpretation of it—that presents a real threat to free software. When these terms are used interchangeably, there is no room for nuance or differentiation. Thus, the open source victory becomes a free software victory, without the slightest question of whether that actually is the case.

But has free software actually won? Let us consider an alternative, that victory for free software looks very different from open source. If an open source victory looks like higher efficiency and more innovation in open source ecosystems, what does a free software victory look like?

If free software 'won'

If we start with the premise that free software is about a philosophy of sharing and a moral code built around that, then what would it mean if the philosophy of free software was just as successful as open source principles? If I'm correct that they are different, then surely the success of this philosophy and moral code would manifest itself in ways different from what we see now.

In a world in which free software wins, are locked-down cloud architectures dominant? Would most hand-held devices be proprietary and difficult to change? Would it be difficult to use any service on any platform? Would we so easily hand over our privacy to media companies? Why, then, in a world in which open source is hyper-successful, are all of the above true? If we declare that open source has won—and I believe it's safe to do so—how could we possibly declare that free software has also won? This is where the conflation of terms is actively toxic. By using them interchangeably, you are taking the air out of the sails of free software advocates everywhere who want to ensure sharing in the cloud, freedom on the web, equal access to technology, and improved privacy for everyone.

When free software advocates speak up, many open source supporters would rather that they just shut up and went away. I was in a conversation some months ago in which I mentioned that we needed to educate people about open source principles. My mistake. See what conflation of those two things gets us? One technology executive responded, "Do we really need that anymore?" The impression among some open source supporters is that, because open source has won, the "free market" will take care of it, and we needn't worry ourselves with this philosophical stuff. Thus, there's no need to lobby governments on standards, privacy, and free software, because, hey, the invisible hand of the market is guiding us all in the right direction. With the success of open source due to market trends, there is far too much lackadaisical thinking about moving technology-culture forward.

Also, I can't resist pointing out that this type of magical thinking is eerily similar to Francis Fukuyama's theory in 1989 from The End of History and the Last Man, that the world's societies and nation states were moving inexorably towards more freedom and democracy. How has that worked out for two-thirds of the world's population?

Free software is important in its own right

We risk losing an entire generation to a rental culture, not actually owning anything digital or controlling the means by which we can interact with our media and devices. By not embracing free software ideals, we risk undermining the necessary work done by free software advocates. The ideals of free software necessitate a modification and sharing culture to keep our corporate overlords in check, something we're rapidly losing on modern cloud, web, and IoT platforms. If we were able to mandate free software principles, frankly, the world would be a better place. I wouldn't have to use a specific platform just so I could access technology services I paid for. Poor students around the world wouldn't face more obstacles to educational opportunities. Underrepresented communities would have more power to control their own destiny and create successful communities that they could leverage as a counterweight to the rest of the world that would rather institute the status quo.

We should all be working to ensure that we own the technology on our devices, that we own our information, and that we can defend our privacy. Whoever owns the information that governs our lives owns the pathways to our thoughts and mechanisms for future monopolies, which does have a real economic impact.

Well, I guess I couldn't get away from the economic argument after all: Ignore free software philosophy and ideals, and risk a terrible future with imposed limits on freedom of expression, thought, and, yes, commerce.

JM head shot
John Mark Walker is Fannie Mae's Open Source Program Office Director and a long-time open source community, product, and strategy expert. He founded the Open Source Enterprise Network (OSEN) and is an advisor for Glyptodon, Inc.


Open Source won where "free software" failed. The difference between Open Source and "free software" is literally the difference between libertarianism and communism. With open source, freedom is a means to an end, that end being a vibrant ecosystem where everyone works together to build great software infrastructure. For the free software people, freedom is an end in itself. It doesn't help any that Richard Stallman is a leftist freakazoid who people work very hard to avoid.

Your libertarian vs communism comment is completely off-base. Libertarianism does not ever think that freedom is a means to an end. Libertarianism focuses on freedom as a moral value in and of itself, which is why many of the active supporters of the free software movement are libertarian. Sure, RMS is not a libertarian, so obviously the free software movement is bigger than only libertarians. But to assert that free software is communist is simply nonsense, even if there are communists who support free software. Free software is quite factually supported by a wide range of political ideologies.

In reply to by IGnatius T Foobar (not verified)

This matches my perception too. My beef with libertarianism is that it places the letter of freedom above its spirit, so it seems to adopt a deontological aversion against market limits and State-funded social programs, even when they are shown to work better and provide a greater good in the end.

Regardless, I see open source with the same lens as the author of this article. Maybe it's a mixed bag with some well-meaning parties and others who are in for the hype and business, but who couldn't care less about anything else. However, the net balance of open source is a boat floating adrift with no real commitments, and zero resemblance to a libertarian movement whatsoever.

In reply to by wolftune

Love the way you phrased the beef with Libertarianism, Eleanor. That fits the way I feel precisely, and I'm going to steal it.

In reply to by Eleanor Suarez (not verified)

"With open source, freedom is a means to an end, that end being a vibrant ecosystem where everyone works together to build great software infrastructure."

Here's the issue with that argument: "open source" as used in this article can be used to prevent a vibrant ecosystem because improvements do not have to be shared. Permissive licenses are popular in part because they allow companies to take the work of others and build closed ecosystems on top of it.

In reply to by IGnatius T Foobar (not verified)

"Free" software is a lie. It is a marketing label used by bullies to intimidate other people into forcing acceptance of their impractical and anti-social beliefs. It has nothing to do with freedom.

I disagree. Free software is about ensuring freedoms granted to the next person downstream make their way all the way down the chain. Free software licenses are effectively the same as permissive licenses except for this: you do not have the freedom to withhold freedom from others.

In reply to by Sarah Ryzecka (not verified)

Aaron, I respect your opinion but ask that you find a more civil way to express it. There's no need to be confrontational and attack people.

In reply to by wolftune

Thanks, VM. I agree completely. I didn't attack any person, but I was indeed confrontational. The OP comment started with saying "free software is a lie", and I (tired but still knowing that text cannot communicate clearly) aimed to just bluntly point out how unconstructive and confrontational the OP was. But I'm super happy to see your sort of reply to me, it's spot on.

In reply to by vmbrasseur

Thank you for taking the time to learn about the differences between open source and Free Software, and specially sharing a text in a form that a broad spectrum of people can better be familiarized if they take the time to read it.

Friendly reminder that we love enthusiastic discussions/debates on Opensource.com, as long as they stay respectful and don't violate our terms of use/community behavior guidelines: https://opensource.com/legal

"Central to the spirit of free software is the idea that everyone should be able to use, modify, and share, with a defined limitation that you can't modify without sharing."

Is this true? My understanding is that I'm free to modify free software for personal use as much as I'd like without any compulsion to share those modifications. But should I choose to share the modified version of the software I must, in turn, share the modified source. Yes?

Oh right - that should have said, you can't modify and redistribute without sharing your changes in source form. At least in so far as "distributing" or "conveying" software is defined by the GPL v2 and v3.

In reply to by bbehrens

Thanks. That helps. And I suspect it tempers a bit the notion that free software "mandates sharing," because this is a specific case in which no such mandate is in place. That might be an interesting fulcrum on which one might lean when making the case for free software and/in the enterprise.

In reply to by johnmark

Actually, free software as a concept doesn't even push copyleft, i.e. mandatory sharing per license *when* you redistribute. That's a *tactic*. Free software says that nobody should be limited in their use of software by someone else having control over the software.

So, yes, you should be able to modify and no requirements to share your modifications (that would be a non-free requirement). But also, a permissive i.e. pushover license like BSD-3 is itself fully respected as free software. *If* everyone keeps that license when they publish derivatives, then nobody in free software movement is unhappy about it. The problem is only when derivatives are published under proprietary terms. That goes against free software. So, it's not that free software says you "must, in turn, share the modified source" when you share the software with others in terms of whether the license requires you to. Instead, free software just says that *if* you have a legal license that *doesn't* have that requirement, then to use your legal power to skip sharing the source, that is unethical.

In short: free software says that both copyleft and permissive licenses are fine, but permissive licenses give you the *legal* power to do something unethical that you should never do. So, it's understandable that they promote licenses that legally block the unethical behavior. But if behavior is legally allowed but never happens, that's okay too.

In reply to by bbehrens

You are correct. Sharing is mandated by the GPL only if the work or a derivative is "conveyed" to someone else (to use GPL language). Private use and private modification are perfectly allowed, and nobody can force you to release the source for a change that hasn't even been published. The AGPL goes one step further by considering use through a network service the equals of publishing/distributing object code.

In summary, the purpose behind the GPL license family is not to maximize source code disclosure, but to make sure, to the extent that is possible, that all users of a program and its derivatives receive the whole set of permissions.

As a free software supporter with an agnostic stance towards open source, I agreed with what the rest of the article had to say. The distinction is important.

In reply to by bbehrens

i have to respectfully disagree with the premise of that article. the reason we mix up Free Software and Open Source using terms like FOSS or FLOSS is because (i believe) that most of us believe that Open Source is just as much about freedom as is Free Software.

the supply chain efficiency is just a ruse to get people to open up to the concept. it's a marketing tactic. once hooked, people do understand that this is really about Freedom. I actually believe that there is nothing efficient about Open Source.

i am not saving money by using Open Source. sure most of it comes for free, but it also incurs a support cost (either internally, or to an external provider (like redhat))

supply for Open Source is not any more efficient. i still have to wait for the producers to make new releases.

it doesn't get me free labour. when releasing my own product as Open Source, i don't automatically get people to work on it for free. and when i do get free labour, then i have to pay for it by supporting those people, return the favor with features they need so they can make their contributions, etc.

no, what i really get out of Open Source, is the same what i get out of Free Software: INDEPENDENCE!

if the owner of the project stops to support it, i can hire someone else to take over, or do it myself.

if there is a security issue, and the producer is to slow to fix it, i can fix it myself.

these things do not make my business more efficient, but they do make it more independent. it's all about freedom, and not at all about efficiency.

greetings, eMBee.

i should add that the dominance of android on mobile phones is not an Open Source win. all of android development happens inside google. handset producers use android because it's free, but the majority of them do not benefit from the open source license that most of the code comes with, because google does not actually permit handset makers to make arbitrary changes.

android that includes google play, and other google apps which is what the majority of handset makers distribute is neither Free Software, nor Open Source! the only beneficiary of the open source license is google itself.

please tell me, how is that an Open Source win?

neither Open Source, nor Free Software have won. we still have a long way to go.

greetings, eMBee.

In reply to by eMBee (not verified)


I agree that independence is a primary reason why Open Source (and to some degree, Free Software) has gained traction.

I do find it ironic that Free Software has, in some respects, ridden the coattails of Open Source's visibility/success.

I'm personally ok with John Mark's (and other's) request that we disambiguate the two movements. However, I'm much more interested in the common aspects of sharing/community building that the two notions share. Open Source has proven that for many, many cases, it's a more efficient and effective way to build software.

John Mark frequently accuses me of being an 'Open Source Pragmatist,' a title which I'll gladly accept, as I think the *vast* majority of work gets done in a space that is more toward the center of the Free Software<->Proprietary Software spectrum. I believe Open Source is closer to the center of that spectrum.

In reply to by eMBee (not verified)

i don't think that's ironic at all. the term was originally coined by Free Software advocates who wanted to find a better way to push Free Software.

i do remember at least Bruce Perens a few years later saying: "it's time to talk about Free Software again" which in part seems to indicate that he was always a Free Software advocate even if he helped coin the term Open Source, and also that he expected that Free Software would benefit from the term Open Source, but realized that this did not happen to the extent that he wanted it to.

greetings, eMBee.

In reply to by guyma

I for one enjoyed the article, I was wondering when someone would tackle the issue on (semi-ironically enough) opensource.com
However, if we are to relate Free software to strong copyleft licenses (GPL et. al.) and opensource - a subset of Free software - to permissive licences (Apache, BSD, MIT etc.) then I would argue that both aspects *do* indeed promote freedom. Yet they focus on the freedom of 2 different groups of people: users for the former, developers for the latter. Mandatory sharing of changes aim at guaranteeing that users never suffer from vendor lock-in, while e.g. BSD... well... look no further than Apple's OSX heh.

"users for the former, developers for the latter"--well, not really. It depends which developers. If developer A uses a permissive license's freedom to close code, developer B loses access to both the freedoms of the permissive license and (newer iterations of) the code itself.

In reply to by PsynoKhi0 (not verified)

It seems there are a lot of words and effort, in the article and in the comments to disparage the idea of free software. If someone wants to make their software freely available at no cost, that's their choice.
The term "open source" has become something of a magical word, like "all natural" when it comes to food. All open source isn't the same though. In many cases proprietary companies release some fragment of a project as open source, to get the benefit of the notoriety and perhaps free contributions, but it's only a fragment of something bigger that remains closed.

I also feel sorry for Francis Fukuyama, who now gets abused everywhere it seems. When you get beat on by someone writing about open source, it must be awful.

In reply to by Greg P

Actually, although it has no force of law any more since OSI abandoned the trademark, "open source" has a really specific definition, unlike "all natural".

Also, "at no cost" is irrelevant here, as "free" means "freedom" not price.

You're right about the partial-opening of some software, but that would also be seen as the partial-freeing of some software. While that goes against the ethic of software freedom, the part that is freed remains legitimate free software.

In reply to by Greg P

No doubt, but that's pretty irrelevant to the FLOSS world everyone else takes part in, in which the founder and major organization involved in specifically Free software define it quite differently from how you do.

In reply to by Greg P

Sorry Greg your "Free as in beer" statement got my attention. Especially as there is an Open Source license where the licensor asks, perhaps tongue in cheek, that if any user of his software encounters him in a bar then they can buy him a drink.

Basically beer isn't free unless you have robbed a bottle shop recently or you have some great home-brew [and that probably wasn't made free of cost]! :-)

In reply to by Greg P

I always have to grouse when someone tries to separate "free software" and "open source".

If we define "open source software" as any software that meets the Open Source Definition (OSD), and we define "free software" as any software that meets the requirements of the Four Freedoms, then it is an easy matter to map the 10 requirements of the OSD to the four requirements of free software.

I did it back in 2009: https://www.adventuresinoss.com/2009/05/07/fauxpen-source/

Thus, by definition, open source software is free software and vice versa.

The problem with the Free Software definition is those pesky words "so you can help your neighbor". Sounds all communisty, right? Those free software nerds must be just a bunch of anti-business hippies.

But ... when I see people trying to make a hard distinction between the two, it is usually a precursor to "fauxpen source". First, they try to separate the freedom aspect away from open source, and then when they try to take away a freedom or two out of the OSD (such a the right to create and distribute derivative works) they hide behind "well, you can still see the source so it must be 'open', right? This isn't 'free' software."


My default is to say "open source" (heck I'm posting this on opensource.com) and by that I mean software that is just better because it meets the requirements of the OSD. but I'll also say "free and open software" or "free software" when focusing on the freedom aspect of things.

I'm not saying John Mark is purposely trying to make a distinction, he raises some good points in his article, but we should always be clear that there is no practical difference between the two - it is more a question of intent.

Thank you! I'm glad someone else made this very obvious point. I've been thinking the same thing for at least a dozen years. Can we please quit arguing about it and move on together to world domination? ;-)

In reply to by Sortova

If open source won... where are all the OSBNFS (open-source-but-not-free-software) projects and/or products?

You don’t have to look far: Your own phone, with high probability, is open source but not free software.

Indeed, all of Google’s services are built on open source, but do you have control over your data and how they are processed? Google may release a lot of code and research papers, but your private info is theirs. And AGPL? Hell no.

One of the reasons why the Internet of Crappy Things are so crappy is precisely because of Open Source. Used to be that we made fun of Windows because of its sucky security, and we were delighted when a new device appeared running Linux. At least Windows had its SP2. Now we are surrounded by forever-day bugs under constant attack. Even though almost every component was built using open source software, from the bootloader to the application stack, we also have firmware locks and careless obtuseness that make that openness meaningless.

These days, almost every device and almost every online service has at least one open source component. Even Windows is partially open source, now that Microsoft has open sourced so many components. And almost nowhere is the user actually given the 4 essential freedoms, especially part of freedom 1: The freedom to change the program so it does what you wish.

In reply to by Miguel A. (not verified)

The main problem is that many people think all free software is distributed under a copy lefted lecense (as GPL), and that's not true. There's free software released under a non copy lefted license, so you don't have to release your modified version of that software under the same license if you don't want too, if you want to keep your version being free software, you just have to comply with freedom 0,1,2 and 3, no matter what free software license you choose; that's all.

I have to say that from my perspective I totally agree that open source is not free software, and I strongly prefer the lack of any enforcement of freedom/copyleft in permissively licensed software. I try to make it clear that open source, permissively licensed software does not ask if your work is derived, or conveyed, or distributed and you are able to do as you wish with little ambiguity over whether any of those conditions are free. I don't see how free, copyleft licenses reduce the risk of the rental culture - a massive amount of copyleft software powers the cloud and the data is still often closed/owned by a small group.

I think the ecosystem is bigger than free software, we owe a lot to the free software movement and that is where I got my start. I have however made a very conscious choice, as I think others have, to move to using much simpler more permissive open source licenses for my work. I personally want a more open world, but I have little time for the legal debates, license compatibility, and nuances of copyleft licensing.

Let's look at the premise about Open Source being about Supply Chain efficiency. To use a British phrase I have to say that that is poppycock!

I spent 10 years working in the Supply Chain function at Cisco Systems and my role was to manage ALL software coming into the supply chain from Engineering (Commercial and Open Source) and make sure that the licensing had been followed.

Several issues, that are easily overlooked in this debate are problematic to large companies, like Cisco, who have invested Millions of dollars building a comprehensive compliance process. This process is cross company and includes hundreds of people, developers, business managers, lawyers, supply chain professionals and managers, and more. Why? Well there is a fairly public reason that followed the acquisition of Linksys. So what are the issues?

The perception of and confusion caused by the phrase "Free and Open Source". We narrowed down the focus to Open Source and trained on the principals that ALL Open Source was owned intellectually be someone else and via one license vehicle or another had made their code available for use without an initial cost (money cost).

However there is, in most cases, a cost for using the software. As has already been mentioned previously, distribution is normally a significant trigger for certain types of Open Source especially copyleft such as GPL. In addition you also have to be careful (even with BSD and other more permissive licenses) that you follow the obligations in the applicable license which, for non copyleft licenses in general, requires that you publicise attribution to the author.

If you use GPL you have to provide access, either as part of your distribution or via an offer in some publication that accompanies your work, to the GPL source code AND any AND ALL changes that you made to that code. Moreover, if you were not very smart in how you developed your product and combined your IP with said GPL or copyleft code then that needs to be published also. So guess what? Your engineering department now has to incorporate additional steps in their peer review, static analysis or other development processes to check for these things AND certify that they have done so. Most busy engineering departments hate having things in their way to slow them down.

A lot of GPL code and other Open Source is notorious for being mixed licensed. This is not an issue with Commercial Licenses because you can hold the supplier accountable for down stream licensing. With Open Source YOU CAN'T! So that means that a piece of code that is licensed under MIT (for example) may include code from a BSD or Apache style license. Guess what - you then have an obligation to follow the requirements laid down in each and every license that makes up what is notionally an MIT license, which in reality is not.

In many cases Commercial Suppliers can distribute Open Source into the Supply Chain, Red Hat and Google immediately come to mind, but all commercial suppliers these days use Open Source one way or another. Many folks think that Commercial Supplier's License Agreement covers Open Source use. It DOES NOT :-). If you receive the code you are obligated to follow the license. So you better know what they gave you.

On the point of "bait and switch" licensing. That is a license that purports to be Open Source but then somehow leads you into some form of Commercial relationship. Those are real and can be costly. Sometimes a 'so-called' open source license, take the famous Community Source license pioneered by Sun Microsystems back in the day, permits free and open use for limited purposes and, like the GPL license, includes a distribution clause that requires a Commercial License. These, thankfully are fewer and fewer but they are out there. The most prevalent are similar to Android where you get some basic Open Source features but to get better performance or higher encryption or some other 'advanced' feature you pay.

Often some of these licenses are placed in the simple click throughs on a Web site, that most people don't bother to read, but click on so they can get their software fix!

Lastly (but this is not an exhaustive list) the real cost of using Open Source is the additional maintenance required. Some Open Source communities are very effective and efficient with updates, bug fixes and security patches etc. some are not. When you start using Open Source you better build a suitable support team in your engineering department and join the community so you can maximise your chances of keeping the code in a working state. Your other option is to go to finance and get some money to pay a company like Red Hat to do that for you.

So let me finish this by saying that there is no "Cost Free" Open Source. There is "Freedom To Use" Open Source where you do not seek to gain from its use. As with anything in life, there is no Free Lunch.

The moment you decide to share what you have done with Open Source and have someone else make use of your work then you extend the Supply Chain one more link. You now have an obligation to your customer (whether commercial entity or friend) for providing a supported and compliant product and making them aware of what their obligations are. You also have an obligation to your Supply Chain to do this and uphold the terms that you agreed to when adopting and using the code in the first place. Its only right that you do so, after all, what you have used didn't grow on trees.

Be careful out there!


This is the worst read about open/free software I ever had read.

By definition, any free software must be opensource. But i.e. any project that need any privative software to run can't be free software, even if you may consider it opensource.

You can think that I was wrong, but you can read this: https://opensource.org/docs/osd

You can understand clearly that this is the same that the four rules of free software. Free of redistribution, free of modification, free of redistribution. Free software deals with property of software, open source deals with availability of source code to read or modify as a development method.

In my view, free software is a term normally used for advocacy purposes as promoted by FSF. This is normally so because the word free normally catch the attention of potential users of technology. Inherient in advocacy strategy is some aspect of opensource as there are software tools that qualify as both free and opensource. Example – LibreOffice. This normally results in the use of FOSS and FLOSS. It must be noted that in the case of free software access to source code is not garanteed -e.g. Skype client.

Opensource on the other hand do provide access to source code whether restricted limited view by group of people or to general public. The emphasis on opensource is normall to provide access to someone who understand the source code to either maintain or improve functionalities. A position normally promoted by OSI.

In terms of doing business, the effort required to develop any solution in either opensource or closesource is the same. However, businesses turned to benefit more interms of opensource use. Opensource software are extendable and easy to maintain.

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