Subject: Re: Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Encyclopedia From: Erik Naggum <email@example.com> Date: Mon, 05 Nov 2001 01:31:10 GMT Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp Message-ID: <firstname.lastname@example.org> * email@example.com | The comparisons being drawn relate to software; Software is not materially different from any other object being traded. | when Microsoft offers a "free" copy of IE, or Oracle offers a "free" copy | of some database product, or Franz offers a "free" copy of ACL, you don't | have any of those freedoms either. Part of the problem here is equivocation. These "free" things mean only and explicitly "free of charge", not any political mumbo-jumbo. They also come with extensive licenses that you have to agree to. When you get GNU software, this licensing stuff is _not_ made explicit up front in all cases, and the consequences are far from obvious. I believe this is intentional. GNU Emacs is the only GNU program I know that does a really good job of making the licensing issue explicit and clear, and Debian is the only GNU/Linux distribution that does a good job of making their policies explicit. I think the strings attached to GNU "free software" should be advertised much more vigorously. | You can't modify IE and pass it on, even though "it's free." True, but they only come sue me if I do something I am not licensed to do. In the case of GNU GPL'ed stuff, they can, in theory, force me to give away stuff that is not related to the object whose license I have supposedly violated. | And remember, there's no such thing as "free beer," because you can only | ever _borrow_ beer. :-) :) | What would be the circumstance where you're _less_ free to use a GNU | program than you are to use Internet Explorer? Well, when you would like to exercise those source access options... | Remember, the fact that you have access to sources for the GNU program | provides options you'd never be likely to have with IE... True, but they come with a very hefty price tag. It is in fact a very good idea _not_ to exercise those options because of that price tag. /// -- Norway is now run by a priest from the fundamentalist Christian People's Party, the fifth largest party representing one eighth of the electorate. -- Carrying a Swiss Army pocket knife in Oslo, Norway, is a criminal offense.