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Am I the only person bothered by the differences in Free?

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I've not seen any pushback on this particular topic in the realm of newspeak.  Free has always meant free as in I give you something for no charge.  But now, we need such disambiguations:

From Free Software on Wikipediaw
Free software may refer to one of the following.

* Freely redistributable software
* Free software, defined by the Free Software Foundation, is software which may be used, copied, studied, modified and redistributed ("free as in free speech"), but is not necessarily available for no charge
* Open-source software, similar to free software
* Free and open-source software, software that can be classified as both free software and open-source software
* Freeware, software available for zero price, but not necessarily with the rights to modify and redistribute it
* Free Software Magazine
* Free Software Magazine (China)
--- End quote ---

And when I say that my software is Free, because of the appropriation of the term Free Software by Stallman, people say that it's not.  

Isn't that the same as the newspeak that the establishment practices?  Re-appropriating known and well-defined phrases to mean something else?

...sorry, just a rant, as you give stuff away for free that has taken your time and effort to develop and people rail against you because you won't give the source (which in many cases you can't).  But I really want to know where the demarcatory line is drawn on such practices.

I have huge respect for Richard Stallman, but the attempts to "re-brand" and co-opt the term free as it applied to software programs, from the original meaning free of charge to the new meanings related to source code availability and options, was a big mistake and continues to lead to some confusion. But no point getting agitated about it, the attempt has not been very successful.

 Stallman almost singlehandedly popularized the term "free" software.

Unfortunately, he made a bad choice when it came to picking the handle he wanted to apply to his idea. And then (in true geek fashion) refused to change it (and became increasingly insistent) when it became obvious that most people didn't think of "free software" in the meta-sense Stallman does. And nobody is as pigheaded as a geek when they're caught out being just a little too geek. (He's still pissed with the Linux community because nobody wanted to go along with his pun to officially call it LinGnux.)

I think a lot of RMS's hangups come from the era Stallman grew up in where "no quarter" was the norm in political debate when confronting "The Man."

Stallman is what he is. I try to forgive him his failings and underdeveloped social skills. He gave us a lot. And most of his warnings and concerns turned out to be spot on in the end. Check up on the news stories posted onnTechdirt and related sites if you need convincing.


FWIW "free" is whatever you choose it to mean. Everybody abuses the term these days and most people don't really believe it anymore.

As far as source code goes, if you didn't place it under GPL or similar "open source" licensing, you have absolutely ZERO obligation to share it. And the people that actually bothered to read up on and understand F/OSS licensing know that quite well. Most of us in that camp prefer something go out under GPL et al. But there is only a small minority (mostly noobs who never wrote a single line of code) that get shrill about it. Ok...just them and Richard Stallman... ::)

Ignore them. Just do your thing your way.

Like we say in the FOSS word - If you don't like what you're given, either: write your own, fork it, or fsck off.

I've encountered some of the same thing about providing source code.  For a small ahk hack I wrote myself it's one thing.  But if it's C# as example, I may have used free components or controls dropped on a form and it's just not practical to try to distribute someone elses controls or components.  Also it's not always in my memory where I got every one of them. It might take longer to trace all the stuff I dropped on the form than to do the dropping.

But I wish they would pass a "plain language in licensing" law like the plain language insurance law they passed in Massachusetts in the 70s or sometime thereabouts.  I mean, it's absurd when it would cost $500 in lawyer fees to get an interpretation of license language for $10 software.  Like, can I use it or not?  Can I sell a program written using this control, function, component etc.. or not??  There's no practical way to know other than being sued.


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