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Part of special sections: copy | free | open - on copyrights | free as in freedom | open source culture and more.

free as in freedom
It's NOT about price.

From Richard Stallman's article The GNU Project from 1998, Free as in freedom:

The term "free software" is sometimes misunderstood--it has nothing to do with price.

It is about freedom.

Here, therefore, is the definition of free software: a program is free software, for you, a particular user, if:

Since "free" refers to freedom, not to price, there is no contradiction between selling copies and free software. In fact, the freedom to sell copies is crucial: collections of free software sold on CD-ROMs are important for the community, and selling them is an important way to raise funds for free software development. Therefore, a program which people are not free to include on these collections is not free software.

Because of the ambiguity of "free", people have long looked for alternatives, but no one has found a suitable alternative. The English Language has more words and nuances than any other, but it lacks a simple, unambiguous, word that means "free", as in freedom--"unfettered" being the word that comes closest in meaning. Such alternatives as "liberated", "freedom", and "open" have either the wrong meaning or some other disadvantage.

Some Freedom History

(mostly from a technical viewpoint)

When What For Freedom impact
the 70s People and organizations including universities, companies, government bodies initially openly shares information. Good Global
1982 AT&T releases UNIX System III with more restrictive licensing than earlier. (Open Source/freedom fighters instead now focuses more on (e.g.) BSD.) Bad Global
-"- Canada Act in 1982, which severed the vestiges of legal dependence on the British parliament. Finally Canada (the country) is free. Good Canada
~1984 GNU Project is started by Richard Stallman. Good Global
1991 Linux kernel is first released by Linus Torvalds Good Global
-"- World Wide Web first sees its daylight on August 6, 1991, when Tim Berners-Lee posts a short summary of the World Wide Web project on the alt.hypertext newsgroup. This date also marked the debut of the Web as a publicly available service on the Internet. Good Global
1998 THE DIGITAL MILLENNIUM COPYRIGHT ACT OF 1998 U.S. Copyright Office Summary - the new law (DMCA) in the US severely restricts users' rights. Wikipedia article. Bad USA
2001 EU Copyright Directive (EUCD) - similar law to the US' DMCA restricts users' rights in the European Union, European Community. Bad EU
2004 Directive 2004/48/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on the enforcement of intellectual property rights (also known as "(IPR) Enforcement Directive" or "IPRED") is a European Union directive in the field of intellectual property law, made under the internal market provisions of the Treaty of Rome. The directive covers the remedies that are available in the civil courts, but not criminal offenses. [wikipedia] Bad EU
2008 Maybe too early to say but... 'On 30 October 2008, the much-maligned “business method” patent died at the hand of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, the very court that had given birth to it a decade earlier.' [From The Death of Business-Method Patents (google it )by Steven J. Frank, IEEE Spectrum magazine, first published in March 2009.] See (e.g.) IP Thoughts. Should

The trial around Pirate Bay in Sweden takes place (wikpedia also has a specific section for The Pirate Bay Trial). An important test of freedom of speech in Sweden and Swedish citizens' rights. (Worldwide impact as users from all around the world uses

* A guilty verdict was announced on April 17. (This is updated Apr 17.) but the defendants intend to appeal.

Sweden &

WikiLeaks (; launched 2006, source: wikipedia) makes global news with releases of hundreds of thousands of secret documents.

* Even if some parts could be sensitive from national security views, we believe too much secrecy is bad and we're looking for more open governments.

Believe is Good...* Global


Part of special sections: copy | free | open - on copyrights | free as in freedom | open source culture and more.