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Re: [zzdev] Re: :gbg: Flame: User-hostile ethic of the Linux comm unity
- To: joshuaa@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
- Subject: Re: [zzdev] Re: :gbg: Flame: User-hostile ethic of the Linux comm unity
- From: Richard Stallman <rms@xxxxxxx>
- Date: Mon, 16 Oct 2000 09:50:14 -0600 (MDT)
- Cc: ted@xxxxxxxxxx, zzdev@xxxxxxxxxx
- In-reply-to: <1E18203C3402B84882243054A7E7DC9301753D57@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> (message from Joshua Allen on Sun, 15 Oct 2000 22:25:52 -0700)
- References: <1E18203C3402B84882243054A7E7DC9301753D57@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
- Reply-to: rms@xxxxxxx
> software? They are not the same thing. For instance, Mozilla is free
> software, and it is commercial software. It is developed by Netscape
> (now AOL), which is a business, so that makes it commercial.
Do you really mean that? I could agree with you making a distinction
between free and commercial, but I do not see how participation of a
corporation could be the sole criteria. Could you clarify?
"Commercial" means "related to business." That is the sole criterion
for whether anything is commercial. Beer is commercial if it is
produced as part of a business. A program is commercial if it is
developed or released as part of a business. If it is developed by a
school, or by a group of individual volunteers, then it is not
Independently of that, a program is free or proprietary depending
on its license.
Thus, commercial programs can be either free or proprietary.
And noncommercial programs can be either free or proprietary.
mean that it does not use GPL, or that certain key rights are held by a
corporation, therefore it is commercial?
No, that is exactly the sort of confusion I am trying to correct.
Whether a program is commercial has nothing to do with its license.
Commercial programs can use the GNU GPL. For instance, GNU Ada and
Star Office are both commercial programs released under the GPL.
All software has the potential to
be used commercially or not, and has the potential to be free or not, and
those two things are independent.
That is correct; all free software permits commercial *use*, by
definition. That is one of the criteria in the definition of free
software. (See http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-sw.html.)
Those two things are also independent of
whether the developers writing the code were paid by a corporation, a
non-profit, or working gratis, (or more likely, a mixture of all of these).
This last distinction I would suppose is the least important of all.
We are now agreeing, except for terminology. I think that whether a
program is commercial (developed by a business) or noncommercial
(developed not as part of a business) is not very important.
What is important is whether the program is free or proprietary.
The idea of organizations giving away software for free to achieve
commercial goals unrelated to software revenue is not at all new.
Free software is a matter of freedom, not price.
It does not mean that copies are always "given away".
Various companies sell copies of the GNU system,
and the FSF also sells copies of some GNU programs.
So GNU software is not always "given away".
It is free in the sense that you as a user
have certain freedoms in using it.
If I get software for free, but
need five full-time consultants to give me "services" in how to use it, is
it really "free"?
Whether the program is free depends on details of the license, but it
has nothing to do with prices--not prices for copies, not prices for