Free Software, Open Source Software--Is there a difference? - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 12-17-2007, 11:50 AM
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I know the answer is yes, but I'm wondering if someone could explain it to me a little better. Here's why I ask:



I've been playing a little free MMORPG and recently decided the world needed a better one. I don't program, and would need more than one programmer anyway. I asked my geek super-genius, programming friend if she would be interested and was delighted when she said yes rather than laughed at me.



She feels that our client should be open-source, and that the game should be free. She has two reasons, one is that it would be exceedingly difficult and impractical to make money off a game (and she's worked on several games, and is probably right.). The second reason is that we're going to draw on a lot of free, open source software and she feels the whole thing should be a tribute to that. Or that we should uphold the ideals of the free software movement by not stooping to the level of money, or something. It's not entirely clear to me.



I don't want to make a living off the game. But I want to put a lot of time into it and unlike her I do not have financial security. I thought we could set a goal of a very modest income, from the game as a tribute to how much work we were putting in.



Really, this is just the impetus for my question. I am not looking for advice on making money from a game.



I know I've read here before that open source does not have to = free. I was also looking on the website of the Free Software Foundation. I watched a video and the guy talking was trying to explain that open source doesn't have to mean free, and you should by all means try to make money with your stuff.



I'm not exactly sure what that means. How do people with open source stuff make money, besides donations and selling tech support? Are you muddying the purity of the open source movement by having a profit motive?
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#2 Old 12-17-2007, 11:56 AM
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I didn't read through your entire post but my understanding is that open source software means the code is available for other programmers to view and/or build upon.



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_source



Free software may or may not be open source.

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#3 Old 12-17-2007, 12:39 PM
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so MMORPG is a game that you and your friend together(?) are programming even though you are not normally a programmer ?

The question is/(could be) almost arbitrary is it Miss garbo if you know you won't make much money or you're not real interested in making money concerning this question of freeware/opensource, because naturally the assumption is its mostly free stuff for us all, but you understand like anybody, everybody needs to make a living.



ANY-HOO, you have a rite to wonder of course for gaining distinction and clarification of principles...



How all this effects any difference in freeware/opensource contributions or selling of either I don't know. BUT I know one thing, and I'd like to think money is not too influential.



(I read the whole of your post unlike Michael)
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#4 Old 12-18-2007, 10:58 AM
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Good job reading the FSF website. That will have most of the answers you're looking for. Specifically here http://www.gnu.org/philosophies



I think you're confusing terms without realizing it. It sounds to me you are talking about three distinct things.



Free Software as in freedom.

Open source software.

Free software as in doesn't cost anything.



I will briefly explain these three. None of these are mutually exclusive. A project can be any combination of these three things. If you have more question feel free to ask.



Free Software (freedom): Free Software, as defined by the Free Software Foundation has the four following necessary conditions:



* The freedom to run the program, for any purpose (freedom 0).

* The freedom to study how the program works, and adapt it to your needs (freedom 1). Access to the source code is a precondition for this.

* The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor (freedom 2).

* The freedom to improve the program, and release your improvements to the public, so that the whole community benefits (freedom 3). Access to the source code is a precondition for this.



Notice there is nothing there about price. If you garuntee these four freedoms while still charging for software you have Free Software. For a full explanation of what free software is check out this link: http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-sw.html



Open Source: Open Source is a concept started by another organization after the FSF was established. The goals of OSS (open source software) is to have a better development model. To reiterate. OSS is about better software, not freedom for the user. In this important fact it differs from Free Software. Most software that is Free Software also happens to be OSS, and most OSS also happens to be Free Software. Sometimes by design and sometimes by accident. The organization behind OSS is OSI http://www.opensource.org/



Free software (no cost): This is a confusing term and should probably be avoided. Instead say something like no cost. But essentially it means there is no charge for the software. Lots of Free Software (as in freedom) is also distributed at no cost. Same goes for OSS. But no cost software doesn't need to be Free Software nor OSS, but and vis versa.



If I were you , I would choose a license and distribution method that encompasses all three of these ideas. I think the GPLv3 and later is a well suited license for such a task and my preferred one.
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#5 Old 12-18-2007, 02:12 PM
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yep if anyone would know its Satyagraha (vber not around atm), OR this ^^^ man!!
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#6 Old 12-18-2007, 05:59 PM
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Thank you very much BDS. Was reading earlier and am still reading your links. That's just what I needed to know.
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#7 Old 12-20-2007, 12:08 PM
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the stated purpose for richard stallman's 4 conditions of free software and the free software movement in general are, in his words:



"Free software means software that respects the users freedom. There are four essential freedoms, that the user of software should always have."



"We want to replace proprietary software with its unjust social system, with free software and its ethical social system. so we develop free replacements for proprietary software.. so that the world can live in freedom."



i find that statement about justice interesting, but not at all intuitive. does anyone have any insight?



is it ok, for example, to copy and distribute other works, alter them, and distribute them to others? books, music, blueprints for buildings or automobiles, cable tv or satellite transmissions, movies, clothing designs? if not, why does the rule apply only to software?



are we better off as a society if all proprietary information is made available to anyone that wants to use or copy it?



http://youtube.com/watch?v=uJi2rkHiNqg



edit: took out the $ question - did not want to muddy the waters.
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#8 Old 12-20-2007, 02:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigdufstuff View Post

Free software (no cost): This is a confusing term and should probably be avoided. Instead say something like no cost. But essentially it means there is no charge for the software.

Well, maybe the inventors of the term "Free Software" should have been more clear-sighted and chosen a term that was less likely to cause confusion... Anyway, there is a good Latin word that is also used in world languages like English, Spanish, Norwegian etc that would probably work quite well: gratis.

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#9 Old 12-20-2007, 04:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goth~UK View Post

yep if anyone would know its Satyagraha (vber not around atm), OR this ^^^ man!!



Yeah, has been ages since I've been around. Been working, then holiday in China (awesome over there), then working again, studying lots, reading lots.



Anyway, Free software is software that you have freedom with. Duf already linked to the gnu philosophy section. If you really care about the social, philosophical side of software licensing, or well just copyright in general really, then there are some good audio files on gnu.org also.



As Indian Season pointed out, free is English is vague. Free software is libre, freedom. It doesn't have to be gratis, free as in $0.
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#10 Old 12-23-2007, 03:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sleepydvdr View Post

Speaking of freeware, there is a cool website that hosts software that is the last free version before it became a non-free software.



http://www.321download.com/LastFreeware/index.html



Lots and lots of goodies in there!



Free software is different from freeware. Read up on the links if you're actually interested.
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#11 Old 12-23-2007, 03:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sleepydvdr View Post

Speaking of freeware, there is a cool website that hosts software that is the last free version before it became a non-free software.



http://www.321download.com/LastFreeware/index.html



Lots and lots of goodies in there!



Free software is different from freeware. Read up on the links if you're actually interested.
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#12 Old 12-26-2007, 02:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Satyagraha View Post

Yeah, has been ages since I've been around. Been working, then holiday in China (awesome over there), then working again, studying lots, reading lots.



many welcomes back!.... Whereabouts in china ? pm me if you wanna. I'd be interested to hear a bit about that. I have a few not bad books about China about the wall and the forbidden city etc which I got from charity shops, but the quality is about right still I reckon and anyway much of history is so old .. the odd update, hardly makes much difference Anyway pm if you wanna. (I've haven't been yet, oneday!!)
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#13 Old 01-01-2008, 03:42 PM
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massive difference, go open source! the future of freedom! software controlled by a community instead of a large corporation, thats got to be good surely?
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