K5: 'Is Richard Stallman's Fight For "GNU/Linux" Suicide?'

Frank Heckenbach frank at g-n-u.de
Thu May 17 18:32:09 UTC 2001

Kristian A. Rink wrote:

> >Thinking that Free Software was about being non-commercial is a
> >misunderstanding that a lot of people have (including the author of
> >the article). It is a misunderstanding, however.
> >Free Software is not about being against commercialization, it is
> >about being for freedom.
> Well, yes. But, my $0.02 on that, most people I know are, when speaking
> about "commercial" software, indeed speaking about closed-source, non-free
> software products, same as most of those, while demanding more
> "professional" applications / programs for GNU/Linux, they actually want
> more of right this "commercial" software. So probably it's not only about
> misunderstanding the fact that GNU/Linux is not non- (or even
> anti-commercial) but only about being for freedom, but it's same
> misunderstanding (yet what most people probably think) that commercial
> software is per definitionem proprietary, non-free. Seeing *this* sort of
> definition, I certainly hope that GNU/Linux *is* non-commercial and will be
> for all eternity. Perhaps, before trying to show people that free software
> is not about being non-commercial, we should show them a more appropriate
> definition of "commercial" in the field of computers / software. Probably
> this would put an end to both of those misunderstandings...

I think so. Explaining people what "commercial" means and doesn't
mean is (and has been) also a task of the FSF(E).

You might argue that it's not worth trying to make people change
their "definitions", but then remember that most people associate
"free software" with "freeware", i.e. usually with free beer, no
source, no support software, and we'll also have to make them change
this "definition" since we don't want to talk about "open source".


Frank Heckenbach, frank at g-n-u.de
PGP and GPG keys: http://fjf.gnu.de/plan

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