Monday, 16 April 2007

New FOSS (Free and Open Source Software) Economy.

I have been involved in testing some new features of the SourceForge site. They are trying to help developers make money from FOSS projects, and users of FOSS get commercial support. It is a very simple but cleaver development and I am interested to see how well it works and if it succeeds in building a new FOSS economy.

I think that the developers will love it but the majority of users and project managers will take a while to understand the new world order.

For those that do not know, FOSS is Free and Open Source Software. This is software that is delivered with the mechanism and right to make changes to it. It is often referred to as Free Software but that is confused with cost free. So it was "Free as in Freedom, not as in free beer" for a while. This is not very catchy so the term Open Source was started. Open Source implys the mechanism to change but not necessarily legal right to chance the source. So the name debate raged on and the term FOSS was invented to not upset anyone, and get on with the job of communicating the benefits. However FOSS needs to be explained, because no one outside the name debate understands it.

I can not help thinking if they had called it Freedom Software from the start it would have saved a lot of trouble.

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