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Author Topic: Are You Ready to Switch to GNU/Linux?  (Read 13796 times)
app103
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« Reply #100 on: January 10, 2011, 07:45:04 AM »

I posted the free beer question on Quora because I'd love to know the true origin of that expression, myself.  cheesy
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« Reply #101 on: January 10, 2011, 08:41:49 AM »

I posted the free beer question on Quora because I'd love to know the true origin of that expression, myself.  cheesy

I believe that it is a twist on this (from gnu.org):

Quote
“Free software” is a matter of liberty, not price. To understand the concept, you should think of “free” as in “free speech”, not as in “free beer”.

And has been corrupted. Though I would leave a definitive answer to someone else.
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Edvard
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« Reply #102 on: January 10, 2011, 10:01:43 AM »

Yes, that is the definition straight from the horse's mouth, so to speak.
I think "free beer" would be better referenced as "something of value that is given away" when speaking of software.
If you brought a six-pack of beer to your neighbor, saying "Here, I thought you might like some!", he'd most likely appreciate the gesture.
So, straight freeware would be free in that sense.
It has value, it does something useful for the user, but it doesn't cost anything.
The whole concept of "free as in free speech" as Richard Stallman envisions it has more to do with the state of mind of a programmer, researcher or hacker.
He wants to be able to learn and share what is learned with others in order to improve the computer-scientist ecosystem.
Freeware isn't free in that sense because while you're free to use it, you don't have the freedom to learn from it, improve it, or fix it's bugs if you have the ability.

$0.02
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app103
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« Reply #103 on: January 10, 2011, 10:45:59 AM »

I believe that it is a twist on this (from gnu.org):

Quote
“Free software” is a matter of liberty, not price. To understand the concept, you should think of “free” as in “free speech”, not as in “free beer”.

And has been corrupted. Though I would leave a definitive answer to someone else.

But why "free beer" and not something else like "free lunch"? The whole statement as quoted from there seems to imply (at least to me) that is is some sort of concept that would be familiar and easily understood. And I have seen it elsewhere, used quite frequently in the p2p world, going all the way back to the Napster days. So this could be an expression they borrowed rather than invented themselves.
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Edvard
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« Reply #104 on: January 10, 2011, 10:50:52 AM »

RMS has been working on this concept for a very long time, since the '70's if I recall correctly.
Also, "free beer" would make sense if he was in college at the time...  undecided
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« Reply #105 on: January 10, 2011, 05:17:40 PM »

But why "free beer" and not something else like "free lunch"?

This reminds me of another confusion about the correct interpretation of the word "free." When the movie Nacho Libre came out, my mother asked my brother (who is fluent in Spanish) what the title meant. He said that libre meant "free" and she said something like "Oh, Free Nachos?" and he had to clarify that it meant free as in freedom, not free lunch. Grin
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« Reply #106 on: January 10, 2011, 05:19:08 PM »

The expression "Free Beer" is familiar and easily understood if you are old enough. It was used as a gag/joke in early silent movies. It was shown on a sign or billboard outside a theater or meeting place where unsuspecting 'patrons' could be lured in and would have to endure some political speech, propaganda or truly awful performance.
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f0dder
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« Reply #107 on: January 10, 2011, 05:37:22 PM »

* f0dder likes the word "gratis" - and things that are.
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40hz
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« Reply #108 on: January 10, 2011, 07:05:39 PM »

Gratis is an excellent word.

40hz also likes the phrase "For all mankind." and its more ancestral cousin "pro bono publico."

Quote
Pro bono publico (usually shortened to pro bono) is a phrase derived from Latin meaning "for the public good". The term is generally used to describe professional work undertaken voluntarily and without payment as a public service. It is common in the legal profession and is increasingly seen in marketing, technology, and strategy consulting firms.

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« Reply #109 on: January 10, 2011, 08:10:19 PM »

This is an area where English is simply deficient and Chinese excels. Where a single pronunciation and spelling in English is ambiguous, Chinese characters differ and make the exact meaning clear. We really need to be verbose at times in English in order to not send the wrong message.

e.g. "I am free."

Is that:

* Not a slave
* Have spare time
* Are offering services for no money
* Have freedom to do anything
* Something else?

The "free" software thing is just muddy, and largely in part (I believe) because the vested financial interests for people come to the forefront.
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40hz
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« Reply #110 on: January 10, 2011, 08:58:05 PM »

Ambrose Bierce summed it up best in his book The Devil's Dictionary, first published in 1911.

Quote
FREEDOM, n.

1. Exemption from the stress of authority in a beggarly half dozen of restraint's infinite multitude of methods.
2. A political condition that every nation supposes itself to enjoy in virtual monopoly. (see: liberty).

The distinction between freedom and liberty is not accurately known; naturalists have never been able to find a living specimen of either.


In many respects, not much has changed since then.
« Last Edit: January 10, 2011, 09:02:49 PM by 40hz » Logged

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« Reply #111 on: January 10, 2011, 09:04:53 PM »

+1 for Ambrose Bierce

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« Reply #112 on: January 10, 2011, 09:28:03 PM »

This is an area where English is simply deficient and Chinese excels. Where a single pronunciation and spelling in English is ambiguous, Chinese characters differ and make the exact meaning clear. We really need to be verbose at times in English in order to not send the wrong message.

 huh huh huh

You then go on to give some examples that clarify the meaning rather than using the word "free".

As a constantly evolving and highly flexible language(s), English gives a vast range of options to its speakers. Ranging from words that define meaning precisely, to usages rich in allusion or insinuation, to usages (frequently colloquial) that almost seems designed to allow the maximum range of meanings to be eked from limited vocabularies. Precise meaning can come from the individual word or word groups or can arise from the context.

The whole "free" thing arises from people enjoying the word play the word 'free' offers.

Admittedly, it also seems to have been deliberately misused in this thread to imply things that were never meant. "Free market" and "free speech" are usages where the meaning is defined in the specific word pair rather than the word 'free'  as an adjective. Just as there is a misuse of the concept of 0 in an equation. Simply people having fun, I assumed.
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« Reply #113 on: January 10, 2011, 10:36:29 PM »

You then go on to give some examples that clarify the meaning rather than using the word "free".

That's exactly what I mean --- unless you want to simply become overly verbose in English, you end up with lots of ambiguity. In normal discourse, there's no reason to assume that degree of verbosity. Hence, situations like this where confusion or red herrings arise.

The real pain is that it's not socially acceptable to be so verbose. People get angry or leave or tune out. You end up coming across as condescending (or as a "know it all" or something like that) without intending to.

Here's a fun example in Korean with the Chinese characters behind the words (reference):

?? (??) - Means "reason" or "circumstance"
?? (??) - Same pronunciation but different Chinese - means "ejaculation"

In the spoken form, there's the possibility of confusion, while in the (academic) written form, there isn't, though there is the possibility in the common written form which generally leaves out the Chinese.


EDIT:
Looks like there's a bug somewhere as the text broke.
« Last Edit: January 10, 2011, 10:56:24 PM by Renegade » Logged

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Deozaan
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« Reply #114 on: January 10, 2011, 11:05:34 PM »

This is an area where English is simply deficient and Chinese excels. Where a single pronunciation and spelling in English is ambiguous, Chinese characters differ and make the exact meaning clear.

I could bring up the fact that with the digital age many Chinese don't even know how to spell the words they use every day because there are so many thousands of characters to memorize.

Then you could bring up the fact that even with only 26 characters in the English alphabet, many who speak English can't spell the words they use every day.

That's when I'd point at that at least they can spell it phonetically so you can understand what they mean even if they don't have the correct spelling. As I understand it, there's no such thing as phonetics in written Chinese. Using the wrong character gives you a completely different word with an entirely different meaning.

The weaknesses cited from the ambiguity of English and the inflexibility of Chinese are some examples that make me love the idea behind Esperanto (even though I probably know slightly more about Esperanto than I do about Chinese, which is to say, not much). I don't think Esperanto is perfect, but I'd say it's probably the most perfect language on Earth today. smiley

But I think we're straying quite a bit off topic now.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2011, 10:36:56 AM by Deozaan » Logged

Edvard
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« Reply #115 on: January 11, 2011, 12:29:25 AM »

Yeah, but I think we've already heard from many folks whether they're ready to switch or not.
Most not...
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« Reply #116 on: January 11, 2011, 05:34:53 AM »

Whether you're ever going to use Linux or not, it's informative to read and understand what Free Software is about by Richard Stallman: "Asking about the practical advantages of free software is like asking about the practical advantages of not being handcuffed." Even if you think the guy is nuts, you should fully understand his arguments for free software.

The Advantages
http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-sw.html

Free Software Philosophy
http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-sw.html

Why Software Should Not Have Owners
http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/why-free.html
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« Reply #117 on: January 11, 2011, 10:41:09 AM »

Richard Stallman is a total geek! He lists the four requirements of free software by starting with 0 and going to 3.

By the way, Zaine, did you mean to have two of those links go to the same place? Seems like perhaps you pasted the wrong Advantages URL.
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« Reply #118 on: January 11, 2011, 12:47:12 PM »

Stallman is a total geek. And a bit curmudgeonly at times.

But two other things he has also been since day one (or zero?) is: impeccably honest; and logically consistent in all his opinions, arguments, and actions.

This is a guy with enough brains and world-class technical skill to have easily made a very large fortune a dozen times over, had he so decided. Instead, he's given his entire life and talents (literally) to the movement he created.

Some people argue for "free as in speech." Stallman lives for it.

Gotta admire integrity like that regardless of which side of the "free" debate you come down on.

« Last Edit: January 11, 2011, 01:47:03 PM by 40hz » Logged

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« Reply #119 on: January 11, 2011, 02:39:28 PM »

+1 for Stallman being a geek.

And +1 for his integrity.

As I make a living off of software, there's no way I can possibly go along with him 100%, but his position has a place, and is very much needed. The world is a better place for having him.
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