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

Sam Liddicott sam at
Wed Mar 16 14:47:39 UTC 2011

On 16/03/11 14:32, Alex Hudson wrote:
> 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.

In my natural mind I agree with what you say.

But... by not letting the word commercial imply or stand-for those 
restrictions, then the restrictions get brought out into the open:

   2 pieces of commercial software - one has restrictions, and folk 
re-learn what what proprietary really means

Closed-source software then becomes wrong footed because they can't use 
the respectable word commercial to cover their deficiencies.


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