Free software movement/Talk

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Good revisions; it's much tighter. About public domain software, though... a public domain program may not have its source code available (ie, released as binary only). While legally one can do anything with the program, freedoms 2 and 4 are practically impossible (aside from reverse engineering). -- STG

That's true. What I meant to emphasize there is that while the conditions listed would be met by public domain software (especially that which also releases source code), most "free" software is not in fact public domain, but copyrighted and licensed to ensure the four freedoms listed (while of course infringing upon other freedoms, namely the right to sell proprietary modified versions).

Of course, I'm not so big on giving people the freedom to take away other people's freedom... but anyway... :) Eventually we'll have sections on the various licenses.

To Larry: the term free software actually doesn't refer to price at all: -- STG

An encyclopedia should describe generally-accepted meanings of words and phrases, not one man's politically-motivated usurpation of plain English. If a store were to advertise "free software", you, I, and most other educated speakers of the English language would assume they meant software with no price. Of course, the fact that Stallman and others use the term in a narrower sense should certainly be covered here, but let's not elevate Mr. Stallman to an authority on English usage. --LDC

LDC: Personally, I mildly curse Stallman for his choice of words. "Liberated software" would work so much better. When I say "free software" doesn't refer to price, I mean that the term as used by the Free Software Foundation doesn't refer to price. Maybe a name change for the page is in order? It might work better under Free software movement, or something similar. What do you think? -- STG

Sounds like a good way to do it.

STG, well, if one were to charge for it, could it possibly be free in Stallman's sense? No, I believe. So, for ordinary people who actually need to read this article to know what "free software" means to Stallmaniacs (I use that word affectionately, don't you know), isn't it actually less misleading to say "not merely to price, but" as opposed to "not to price, but"? (Of course, you can charge for incarnations of it, can't you...? Hm.) --LMS

Stallman explicitly says that charging for media or distribution in no way infringes his preferred meaning of the term. Indeed, he derives significant income from selling it. --LDC

Larry, according to the FSF, you can indeed charge any amount you like for "free software" in the Stallman sense, so long as you do not try to prevent people from making copies and giving them away, if they choose to. Needless to say, no one's going to get rich off of such a business model. A direct quote from Stallman: "When we speak of `free software', we're talking about freedom, not price." -- STG

Looks like my question was answered in the affirmative. Thanks! --LMS

Hey, if Larry can refer to someone else's "politically motivated usurpatation of plain English", doesn't that disqualify him from editing the topic? He sure doesn't seem to think his own view is political, which makes him rather blind. Greg Lindahl

In reply to STG--it's shortsighted to believe that no one is going to get rich off of such a business model. See lawyers and companies that package boilerplate contracts/divorce forms etc. There's tons and tons of money in those businesses and they're dealing with all public domain information.

Second, is it just me, or are the gratis and libre entries more than a bit gratuitous? --The Cunctator

I added the word "Many" in a place you will notice. Surely it's not all members of the FSM who believe this. No?

I'd have to say that pretty much by definition that's what the "movement" is about--that free software is a political (aka moral) choice, because proprietary software hurts society. --The Cunctator

Greg Lindahl, you must have gotten up on the wrong side of the bed this morning. I make no claims as to whether I am or am not motivated politically. I'm sure I am, at least sometimes. Frankly, I don't care if I or anyone is; what I care about is getting the facts stated correctly and unbiasedly. There are plenty of very politically-motivated people here, and they add a lot of useful information, in a largely unbiased fashion. --LMS

He also needs to read attributions more carefully--the phrase he quotes was mine, not yours. --LDC