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Someone on Stack Overflow says "open source camp" is one of his interests. At first sight, I was confused by the use of "camp" here.

Now I feel that it might refer to the word "campaign", which seems to make the best sense to me among others.

Am I correct? If so, is the use of "camp" as a short term for "campaign" well accepted? I can't find any entry for "camp" from online dictionaries that is related to "campaign".

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Etymology: from French champ, ultimately Latin campus (field) –  Andrew Vit Nov 23 '11 at 1:49
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7 Answers 7

up vote 15 down vote accepted

It isn't short for "campaign", and "camp" should probably be omitted from the sentence.

Checking stackoverflow.com, I find four uses of "open source camp":

  • "Crippling software is not favoured by all (especially the open-source camp), ..."

  • "... if you lean towards the open source camp, I suggest you use MySQL ..."

  • "I'm also looking for something in the open source camp (such as rdesktop) ..."

  • "I am a developer in Peking,China! My major occupation is software engineering with microsoft dotNet framework. And I am very intrested in open source camp."

The first three (from a question, an answer and a comment) are the normal usage, note they're all "the open source camp". The meaning is as others have answered, a shared belief system, supporters and defenders of open source.

The fourth one is from a user's profile, and must be the source for this question. In this context, the use of "camp" is unusual, possibly incorrect. First, there are some typos and English probably isn't the author's first language. Second, it would be better to include "the". Finally, you wouldn't normally say you're interested in "the open source camp"; when talking of "the open source camp" you'd usually be talking about the beliefs or opinions of the wider open source community.

It would be better written something along the lines of:

  • "And I am very interested in open source."
  • "And I am very interested in open source development."
  • "And I am very interested in the open source community."
  • "And I am very interested in the open source ideology."

It's worth mentioning in passing "camp" is also often used in software circles for unconferences and hack-days, such as Foo Camp, BarCamp, CloudCamp and RecentChangesCamp.

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OMG! I would like to upvote a million times for this answer if I ever could! –  Terry Li Nov 22 '11 at 22:12
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"Substitute ‘damn’ every time you’re inclined to write ‘very’; your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be." -- Not Mark Twain –  Hugo Jan 15 at 12:20
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Camp here may refer to a group sharing an opinion. He might be describing himself as a supporter of open source software.

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In the OED’s definition, the position in which ideas or beliefs are intrenched and strongly defended, as in this citation from 1956:

The world is in fact divided into two camps, Communist and anti-Communist . . .

Used as an adjective, and with an unrelated etymology, camp otherwise means 'ostentatious, exaggerated, affected, theatrical; effeminate or homosexual; pertaining to or characteristic of homosexuals.' (I'm not sure if the word has this meaning in North America.)

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I believe when camp is used here it means 'school of thought' or 'those with similar viewpoints'. www.thefreedictionary.com offers one meaning of camp as 'A group of people who think alike or share a cause; side'

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Camp is not short for anything but means camp, as in a place where tents are set up.

The usage of Camp to mean a "group of like minded people" derives from this by the somewhat convoluted logic.

  • A camp is where tents are set up.
  • Armies move around and set up camps overnight.
  • "He's in the King's camp" became common usage to indicate which armed group a soldier belonged to.
  • And later became common usage to refer to a any group with a common interest.
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Got a reference? –  jwpat7 Jan 4 '13 at 19:37
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'Camp', in that context, is not short for 'campaign'. It is not short for anything, simply 'camp', literally the place where you set up a tent to sleep. Here, it is a metaphorical usage meaning 'the general area where one resides' and in this case culturally with the other people who care about 'open source'.

As to the particular usage of that instance, it is strange to say 'I am interested in the open source camp' (it sounds like they're interested in people who are interested in open source). Most likely they are interested in 'open source', and so would feel part of the open source 'camp'.

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I think @Hugo probably has it right that it's just a misuse of the word, with the intended meaning that the person is interested in open source development.

I'll just toss out another possibility that the person is speaking of code camp, a (intended to be) fun gathering at which folks practice and promote software development. Generally you'd say just "code camp" rather than "open source camp", but if we're speculating word misuse it could fit.

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