[Fsfe-ie] Fw: GNU/Linux -- Free Software

Éibhear ifso at gibiris.org
Mon Jul 5 15:55:11 CEST 2004


Read below some comments I sent to the Sunday Business Post regarding an
otherwise good article available at

(sorry if the link is broken -- crap web-mail system).


Éibhear Ó hAnluain

--------- Original Message --------
From: Éibhear <ifso at gibiris.org>
To: comments at tcm.ie <comments at tcm.ie>, sbpost at iol.ie <sbpost at iol.ie>
Subject: GNU/Linux -- Free Software
Date: 05/07/04 13:24

> A Chara,
> I would like to commend you and your correspondent June Caldwell on the
> informed and balanced article &quot;End of the support line&quot; in your
Computers in
> Business supplement.
> However, there is one error in the piece which, for your readers' complete
> understanding, I would like to correct.
> The article says &quot;Linux is part of a class of software called Open
> Software/Free Software (OSS/FS), also known as Free-Libre and Open Source
> Software (Floss). In other words, it's available for free.&quot; This
> is not correct in two ways:
> + The &quot;free&quot; in Free Software refers not to the price of the
software, but
> to the freedom it grants the users with respect to what they can do with
> software. Free Software grants users four fundamental freedoms which,
> together, are not granted by vendors of non-free software:
> - To use the programs for any purpose;
> - to study how the software works and to adapt it for various purposes;
> - to redistribute copies of the software; and
> - to improve the software and to release any improvements to the public.
> + The software is not necessarily available for free (i.e. zero price).
> vendors charge for the software in order to recoup packaging and shipping
> costs, or to recover the costs of improvements and additional programs
> developed by the vendors. As long as the vendor does not place impediments
> on the users' four freedoms as outlined above, this type of charge is
> consistent with the ideals of Free Software. Over and above these types of
> charges, vendors also charge for support of the software -- a service that
> the user can choose to avail of, or not.
> Many who disagree Free Software, or feel threatened by its rise, attempt
> mislead the public and commentators by redefining the &quot;Free&quot; in
> Software&quot; to mean &quot;free of cost&quot;, when in reality it's the
same &quot;free&quot; as in
> &quot;Free Speech&quot;. The alternative description
&quot;Free-Libre&quot; is often used to
> promote this clarification.
> Your readers will find more information on the web site of the Irish Free
> Software Organisation (http://www.ifso.ie/).
> Is mise,
> Éibhear Ó hAnluain

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