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Where "free software" stands on the internet today

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ariadacapo's picture
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Joined: 2006-07-13

As I browsed the web a little the last few days to update the links section of GGL, I noticed some interesting things about how "free software" was presented on the web.
Here are some gathered remarks.

  • First, I was really surprised to see that a Google search for "open source" features... the FSF in 5th place! The text description says "The organization that "started it all" in free or open source software.", I really wonder who added this, and why. The term "open source" isn't even present on the FSF homepage or its source code.
  • I was happy to see the effort made by the Ubuntu developers to make the installation of non-free codecs easy in Ubuntu. Both the "Ubuntu restricted extras" package, and the Medibutuntu project, are really helpful moves IMO.
    However, I can't help but being saddened by the lack of information on this non-free software problem. Calling things "packages restricted by copyright or legal issues in some countries" leaves the average user clueless as to what is at stake here. The packages aren't restricted at all! It's the use of them that is restricted - quite a huge distinction.
    The Ubuntu licensing page seems to be built by developers for developers, and makes little mention of the freedom of the non-code-reading user.
    I deeply respect the Ubuntu people's use of their favorite terminology, but sometimes I feel a little annoyed at this "don't get people thinking too much" attitude.
    [end of rant]
  • The Fedora homepage, on the other hand, points to the definition of free software!. Simple and clear. I hadn't noticed before.
  • And last but not least, a search for "free software" on Google features a sponsored link pointing to... I'll let you find out. Shameful.

This doesn't really call for responses, it's just a personal remark... it can simply be interesting to note how the term "free software" can be used and distorted on the Internet.
Olivier.

a thing's picture
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Joined: 2005-12-20
ariadacapo wrote: First, I
ariadacapo wrote:

First, I was really surprised to see that a Google search for "open source" features... the FSF in 5th place! The text description says "The organization that "started it all" in free or open source software.", I really wonder who added this, and why. The term "open source" isn't even present on the FSF homepage or its source code.

That looks like someone inside Google did some manual tinkering.

StevenBrady's picture
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Joined: 2006-06-09
If someone at Google

If someone at Google tinkered, I'm sure it'd rate higher. I'm sure a great number of websites link the words "open source" to FSF, which would take up its ranking for that search.

free-zombie's picture
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Joined: 2006-03-08
even if they did (I haven't

even if they did (I haven't seen such a link myself IIRC), where would the description come from ?

tbuitenh's picture
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Joined: 2005-12-21
I'm not getting the same

I'm not getting the same results from google, but there's this one pointing to gnu.org

google wrote:

The GNU Operating system - the GNU project - Free Software ...
Home of the GNU operating system, the GNU General Public License, and the Free Software Foundation. The Open Source Movement branched off from the Free ...

The words "open source" are not used on gnu.org, not even hidden in the html source. However, I found the same description as in that result here:
http://directory.google.com/Top/Computers/Open_Source/Software/

I would guess google uses some entry from the directory for the other description too.

EDIT: got it!
http://www.google.com/Top/Society/Issues/Intellectual_Property/Organizations/

EDIT2: I also found why google for a long time insisted on calling libervis "open source community node"...
http://www.google.com/Top/Computers/Open_Source/Advocacy/

libervisco's picture
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Joined: 2006-05-04
That's right. Google takes

That's right. Google takes descriptions from DMOZ alot. The "open source community node" is the way I called Libervis at the very beginning and I submit it to DMOZ as such and it stuck. It takes DMOZ really long to add and probably also edit the entry.

The positive thing about it though is that "open source" related searches often lead to Libervis.com where they can read about Free Software, not just Open Source. Smiling

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