[nSLUG] Richard Stallman in Halifax

Ian Campbell ian at slu.ms
Fri Jan 30 13:35:58 AST 2009

On Fri, Jan 30, 2009 at 01:20:35PM -0400, Daniel Morrison wrote:
> 2009/1/30 Joshua B. <juggins at gmail.com>:
> > 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.
> "I am free", or "I am a free man", which seems to mean, according to
> you, that "I cost nothing".  Or perhaps, that I have the freedom to
> charge whatever I want for myself, including "nothing".

His very first definition was "unrestricted", which I think is in sync
with "I am free", or "I am a free man."

> How do you explain that most every other language in the world has two
> separate words for the two separate meanings, if in fact they are not
> "all that distinctly different"?

I explain it as "they're different languages."

I mean c'mon now, why does RMS have a monopoly on "free"? Why not ask
the BSD guys what they think of his "free as long as you do what I
want" definition?


> > If "Free" means only the four freedoms then it's definitely a narrower
> > reading of "free" which encompasses all conceivable freedoms.
> Challenge: name a "freedom" which is not permitted by Free software.
> Hint: a restriction (i.e. the right to restrict distribution of
> portions of the software, such as the source, is not a freedom).

It's the freedom to do what *I* want with the code. You clearly
disagree, but how is telling someone what they can/can't do freedom?

Here's a restriction not permitted by Free software: linking
proprietary code to code licensed under the GPL... or the TiVo drama
in GPLv3. I can't make use of your code even if I leave it open. How
is that Free?

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