Free / Libre open source software

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The terms Free / Libre Open Source Software or Free and Open Source Software and their acronyms FLOSS and FOSS are hybrid terms for Free Software and Open Source Software . The terms are often used to avoid the unresolved name dispute between the two movements.

Background of the name dispute

The background to this is that the historically older term “free software” was considered unsuitable from the point of view of some advocates of free software in order to promote the marketing of free software in companies. For this reason, in 1998 the neutral term "open source" (was open source ) selected, the since many developers, users and much of the press has been adopted. On the other hand, however, other people, such as the founder of the free software movement, Richard Stallman , strictly reject the formulation (see Free Software # Open Source ).

In order to take into account both parties when naming this software area, one often speaks of FOSS or FLOSS .


Since the acronym FOSS only corresponds to the English title, possibly also to the German (“F” for free), the term FLOSS was introduced over time, which does justice to most of the more widely used languages. Likewise, one tries to take away a free mentality from the term, since the L as in libre (French and Spanish), livre (Portuguese) or libero (Italian) unmistakably stands for freedom.

The creators of the terms intended not to alienate supporters of the free software philosophy or those of the open source philosophy with their acronym . It was hoped to be able to relax the friction between the two movements and thus improve their cooperation. In fact, Richard Stallman , the founder of the term free software, publicly recommended the use of the term FLOSS, especially for research projects that want to be neutral on this matter, but he rejects the use of FOSS as it is not clear enough take into account the various points of view.

At the end of 2004, the English version of FLOSS found its way into a number of official documents from several countries, including South Africa, Spain and Brazil.

See also

Web links


  1. Free Software - Free Society! Interview with Richard Stallman, May 27, 2004
  2. "FLOSS and FOSS" by Richard Stallman on Retrieved April 7, 2020 .
  3. FLOSS deployment in Extremadura, Spain der Interoperable Delivery of European eGovernment Services to public Administrations, Business and Citizens, October 2003
  4. Relatório da ONU aponta o Software Livre (FLOSS) como melhor ( Memento from February 10, 2009 in the Internet Archive ) on, February 2, 2004