Richard Stallman's new article: Overcoming Social Inertia

MJ Ray mjr at
Thu Jan 31 18:11:55 UTC 2008

Alessandro Rubini <ar at> wrote:
> My experience is with a data-acquisition application in my university.
> They asked me to write it because the commercial[1] ones were too costly.
> [...]
> [1] commercial like "paid per-copy".
> I begin to have problems with "proprietary", as everyone in the
> industrial world uses "proprietary" to mean "the one we build
> ourselves and which we can change as we please without any lock-in
> from vendors".  So it's often difficult, in those contexts, to pass
> the idea of lack of freedom using "proprietary" as the defining word.

I'm not bothered whether people call it proprietary, closed (nb: FSF
discourage this in
), locked, legacy, single-vendor, cartel, non-free-software or many
other words, but using "commercial" to mean something other than
commercial causes problems for commercial free software businesses.
Please don't do it.

Over 20 years on and we've still not got a perfect word for what we're
working to obsolete?

MJ Ray tel:+44-844-4437-237 -
Webmaster-developer, statistician, sysadmin, online shop builder,
consumer and workers co-operative member -
Writing on koha, debian, sat TV, Kewstoke

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