August 13, 2003

Win hearts and minds with Freedom Software!

- By Robin 'Roblimo' Miller -

Open Free Libre FLOSS Permissive Public Service Software. And I'm sure there are plenty of other names that have been proposed for whatever kind of software licenses SCO and Microsoft don't like. Lately, though, I've been leaning toward 'Freedom Software.' I would be proud to be a member of the Freedom Software Foundation, which might be a great name change for the Free Software Foundation.

I originally came up with this idea as a joke, back when misguided American 'patriots' were deFrenchifying names of many common foodstuffs, turning 'French Fries' into 'Freedom Fries,' and (presumably) 'French Dressing' into 'Freedom Dressing.'

Not that I have anything against the idea of 'Freedom kissing,' mind you, but I'm enough of a language traditionalist to enjoy 'French kissing,' same as I always have.

But 'Freedom Software' certainly has a nice ring to it. It's easy for SCO to be against 'Free Software,' but how in the world could they possibly attack something as benign and patriotic as Freedom Software? How could anyone -- except possibly North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il -- be against Freedom Software?

Rush Limbaugh would almost certainly endorse Freedom Software. Surely, President Bush would want to run on Freedom Software.

Perhaps this isn't a joke

In a conversation at LinuxWorld last week, Free Software Foundation Executive Director Bradley Kuhn objected to the idea of renaming the FSF 'Freedom Software Foundation' purely on grammatical grounds. He prefers 'Foundation for Software Freedom.'

He is, technically, correct. But 'Freedom Software Foundation' sounds better, is shorter, and in a world where "You've got mail" and other ungrammatical statements are commonly spouted by major companies, we might as well go with the flow and compromise our love for English correctness in order to have nomenclature that is pleasing to the ear -- and likely to gain adherents more rapidly than grammatically correct, but less pleasing, constructions.

Even Microsoft will want to support Freedom Software. They already have that 'Freedom to Innovate' thing going on, right?

Let Freedom Ring!

I am an American, so I value Freedom. I want the bells of freedom to ring out everywhere; from the mountains, to the prairies, to the oceans, white with foam [1]. I want it to ring from my monitor screen, and from millions of other computer monitor screens all over the world.

So, Mr. Kuhn and Mr. Stallman, I most respectfully call upon you to change the much-maligned and easily-misunderstood "Free Software Foundation" name to "Freedom Software Foundation" in the name of branding, that most holy word in the mercantilist lexicon, in order that our freedom to use software written by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth [2].

[1] - From the song God Bless America. (In the Firesign Theatre version, it's the milkman who is white with foam, but the sentiment is the same.)

[2] - The closing lines of Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address.

(Non-US residents are encouraged to use their own countries' favorite "freedom" icons and quotes. Think globally, act locally!)

Disclosure: The author of this article is a dues-paying associate member of the Free Software Foundation.


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