[Fsf-friends] [FSUG-Bangalore] Would this constitute as FUD

Sajith T S sajith at gmail.com
Mon Sep 22 22:12:07 IST 2008

shirish <shirishag75 at gmail.com> wrote:

> [quote]
> Free software (as in free beer) may come with a zero price, but may
> have its source code as closed.
> [/quote = J Schwartz, CEO, Sun ]
> Comments, suggestions, reactions all invited as usual ;)

I was wondering... tech journalism being what it is, you'd suspect
that Jonathan Schwartz is very probably being misquoted.  The CEO of
Sun cannot completely clueless about free software movement, can he?
Why should Sun try to spread FUD *and* seemingly try to make friends
with that very community it's trying to taint?  Besides, he was
talking about free beer software.  Brackets alleviate all sins. :p

Then I went ahead and actually read the interview and was mightily
troubled by his answer to the very first question.  Free software
comes with a price tag of zero?  Examples are HTML and Javascript?
Free software may have its source code as closed?  Just what the hell
are we talking about here?  Did one of these guys (Jonathan, or the
interviewer) pull this stuff off their own hind?  But look -- they're
talking sense through the rest of this interview!

Perhaps we can debate this another way.  Imagine I make a piece of
binary blob available, without charge, and claim that it is free
software.  What prevents me from using that term?  How is it my fault
that "free" is ambigous in English?  How is it my problem that the FSF
and their kind have a certain definition of what is free software?

I've always wondered why a better term wasn't picked up from the very
beginning so that this would not be such a source of trouble -- later
on leading to things such as open source and confused journalists^W
people educating the public about free software.  I mean, I'm shaken a
bit every time a manager or similar person in a suit or a person with
an apple laptop pontificates about open source... whereas what they
refer to actually belong to us smelly unwashed people.

I would argue that every time you've to explain what exactly is "our"
definition of free software, that is a kind of fail.  That is indeed
unfortunate, and that version of reality do suck.  Though fortunately
Indian languages have a distinction between "gratis" and "libre"...

We're just grumpy that ET didn't interview RMS, aren't we. :)

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