Why software libre and not free software

Reading Richard Dale’s post about, among others, this issue, and after having a conversation about this with some of the people invited to II Jornadas de Software Libre conference, celebrated last week in Tenerife, I want to describe some arguments that make me say that we should stop talking about free software and begin to talk about software libre.

  • Free is an english term that has two major and popular meanings, free as free beer and free like liberty. Libre in spanish has this second meaning only.
  • Software libre is a mixture of an english word (recornized already in the spanish dictionary) and a spanish word. So it is a good international mixture.
  • Libre is a simple word easy to identify in many languages and, above all, easy to pronunciate for non spanish people.
  • software libre cannot be confused with open source any more since we have taken away the relation with the concept free as free beer. In spanish there is no confusion about this as there is in english.
  • Libre is easy to write. Free is not, since many people make mistakes with the two final e.

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