In the past, Mozilla has tried to make the concept of open source more understandable using the term “100% organic software” (although we don’t seem to have been using it recently). I just noticed that OpenOffice.org use “honest software“:
OpenOffice.org 3 is developed using an open-software, “no secrets” approach. Anyone can look at the programs and suggest improvements, or fix bugs. Anyone can report problems or request enhancements, and anyone can see the response from other users or developers. The status of current and future releases is displayed on a public wiki, so you can decide if and when you want to upgrade to take advantage of new features. Anyone used to commercial software and its hyping and marketing speak will find OpenOffice.org 3 refreshingly different. Enjoy the benefits of open-source!
It’s an interesting take. But I think that, although “open source” has some disadvantages, they are negated by the fact that if you use that term, all the open source communities are then talking about and promoting the same thing. If everyone has a different way of trying to explain it better, we’ll just end up confusing people.
The same logic, of course, could have been applied to avoid the creation of the “open source” term altogether. Although that does have the advantage of being much more easily searchable-for on the web than “free software”, at least in English where “free” is ambiguous.