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Swimming Upstream



April 20, 2007

F/LOSS or FOSS?

Filed under: Journals at 2:10 am Comments Off

This is a latecoming blog entry for the Open Source Software Summit in Beijing on March 27th, 2007. I won’t talk in length about the event here since it’s an old event and there are already some blogs entries:

* Stephen Walli’s blog and Flickr stream
* Jim Grisanzio’s blog and Flickr stream
* Nat Torkington’s blog commentary.
* Michael Iannini’s blog coverage for ZDNet Asia.
* Jing Jing Helles Flickr stream.

During the event I noticed an unfamiliar term in Nat Torkington’s presentation. When he was referring to Free and Open Source Software, instead of using aconym FOSS (which is most familiar to geeks in China), he used the term F/LOSS (Free/Liberal Open Source Software) in his presentation.

FLOSS

I brought up a question about this term to Nat during his Q&A session, he explained that it is a widely used term in Europe. I was surprised that he was not at all concerned about the acronym as it reads like floss, and carris a bad meaning with ‘LOSS’. In my superstitious asian culture, people spend their lifetime to give good and lucky names to their kids, their business, their pet, or anything that they are entitled to give names. It’s a science developed in thousands of years and rooted deeply in culture. Europeans might not care about it, I am sure Asian geeks will be reluctant to use F/LOSS for Free and Open Source Softwares.

An interesting case about cultural difference, even when we are speaking the same language – English.

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