Commercial Software (was: Re: Nokia spreading FUD?)

Alex Hudson home at
Wed Mar 16 14:32:22 UTC 2011

On Wed, 2011-03-16 at 13:36 +0000, Sam Liddicott wrote:
> Do we need to hi-jack the ghastly mis-used term "commercial software", 
> and always use it when we also refer to free software?

I wouldn't go that far.

If people ask me about commercialism, I generally say that "Yes, it's
commercial, anyone can use it and anyone who wishes to can sell it" (or
along those lines). This gets across some important concepts:

 * that free software doesn't have to be sold;
 * that were it is sold, the money doesn't always accrue to the author;
 * that even where it isn't sold it can be used in commercial contexts.

It also differentiates it from non-commercial software (which at least I
believe exists; e.g. CC: BY-NC licensed software) in both copying and
use restrictions.

I also think the pro-commercial aspects are one of the strongest
arguments for free software. It's a mistake to ignore them imho. But
equally, if you say it's commercial, you can imply restrictions which
are not present.



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