[nSLUG] Richard Stallman in Halifax

Joshua B. juggins at gmail.com
Fri Jan 30 09:51:38 AST 2009

On Thu, Jan 29, 2009 at 9:47 PM, Michael Crawford <mdcrawford at gmail.com> wrote:
> Regarding the confusion over the two distinctly different meanings of
> the single English word "free"...

I don't think the two meanings are all that distinctly different.
"Free" means unrestricted, the requirement to pay for access, or the
right to use, is a fundamental restriction. You can't impose a
requirement to pay for something unless you have the power or right to
restrict its use. The freedom to use something without paying is just
one of many possible freedoms that exist in addition to the four
enshrined in the FS manifesto.

If "Free" means only the four freedoms then it's definitely a narrower
reading of "free" which encompasses all conceivable freedoms. I think
it is characteristic of ideologues to define down terms until they are
narrow enough to be preached in unequivocal terms. However, it would
be more intellectually honest to start with a term that is
sufficiently specific in the first place, or to coin a word for your
own purposes than latch on to a general term taking advantage of its
mass appeal and then attempt to impose restrictions on it.

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