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Old 05-26-2021, 01:01 PM   #16
enorbet
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newbiesforever View Post
Disagree. Stallman may have spoken long ago, but the phrase is made timeless by UNIX users continuing to use it freely, here at LQ and elsewhere.
UNIX users? Ummmm UNIX isn't free in either sense.
 
Old 05-26-2021, 02:08 PM   #17
ondoho
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I wanted to look for proof that the phrase "free beer" is perfectly understandable to non-native speakers, and found this instead:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_Beer
An Open Source Beer that is in fact "Libre as in beer"!
 
Old 05-26-2021, 02:34 PM   #18
rokytnji
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Running Gnu/Linux and going to biker runs. I live the good life. Free, free, free.

Now back to the grammer nazi's.
 
Old 05-26-2021, 04:09 PM   #19
ntubski
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newbiesforever View Post
Being an English major, I'm good at picking apart words or phrases to guess what someone really felt or meant, what attitude lay behind them.
Is this what taking an English major teaches? That seems pretty bad.

https://thinkingbugs.com/mind-reading/
 
Old 05-27-2021, 05:08 AM   #20
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Well, once we start into English analysis, the whole idea of analysing Stallman's words falls apart fairly fairly.quickly. His saying "Free as in beer" or whatever he said, is the equivalent of the English idioms of the type:
Quote:
As <X> as <Y>
The critical thing about those phrases is that there is no real requirement for X to be descriptive of Y. These are idioms, not equations. Take the example: "As straight as an arrow." Arrows are subject to the vagaries of crosswinds, and they fly in a parabola, not straight. But that expression is in common use and we all know it today.

So if we accept Stallman's expression as an idiom, it stands.

Mr English major, please verify my post!
 
Old 05-27-2021, 07:58 AM   #21
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Picking apart the meaning is so tedious, and it's ultimately pointless. You're not going to explain the supposed "true meaning" to each and every person on the planet. That's stupid. It would be much better to simply use an expression that has a more clear meaning in the first place, such as "open software". It indicates that you have some respect for language and communication.

If you insist on using a phrase which is, in practice, misleading, obtuse, and confusing? That indicates that you're not really serious about language and not really serious about communication, and therefore you are not really serious about public outreach and sustaining the movement. It indicates a disdain and disrespect for any audience that is not already "in the know".

I'm not interested in such an attitude. And I don't find it exciting to have to explain what I mean when I talk to others about GNU/Linux. Since I find such tedious explanations tiring, and they turn off others anyway, I don't ever say "free software". I only ever say "open software". Maybe I still have to explain what that means if they ask, but at least I don't have to spend half an hour trying to unexplain what "free software" means because it instantly deceptively conveys the "wrong" meaning.

Oh, but I do actually explain that, for example, Debian is free. But when I use that word, "free", I use it to mean what the listener expects it to mean. I simply mean that you don't have to pay anyone to use it. It conveys my intended meaning that it's freeware, and you can install and use it on any number of machines without paying any fees.

But if I went and wasted a bunch of time explaining that "free software" doesn't mean that? Ugh, no thanks! That just means they have no idea what I really mean every time I say the word "free".

I show my respect for the listener. I show my respect for the audience. I use language that means what they expect it to mean. This should be common sense, and this should be common courtesy.
 
Old 05-27-2021, 08:09 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ser Olmy View Post
Yes, but it's doesn't necessarily provide any freedom.

(Just pointing out that "Free Software" and "Open Source" are different concepts.)
That's a good thing, because it is less deceptive. GPL licenses are restrictive licenses, as they should be. They restrict what others can do with it, in a way that sustains the open-ness of the software. It is a restriction on freedom. It is a desirable restriction on freedom.

We can compare and contrast with a less restrictive BSD license. A BSD license offers more freedom. But they have sustainability issues. We see how BSD licensed software gets forked and folded into closed proprietary software all the time. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? It depends. Plenty of folks who use a BSD/MIT license fully intend for others to use their software this way.

Last edited by IsaacKuo; 05-27-2021 at 08:12 AM.
 
Old 05-27-2021, 08:15 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IsaacKuo View Post
I use language that means what they expect it to mean. This should be common sense, and this should be common courtesy.
Well you're currently repeating the term "open software" and I can't tell if you're intending it as a synonym of "free software", as an abbreviation of "open source software", or something else - so your assertion that "open software" has "a more clear meaning in the first place" does not hold.

The term "copyleft" could be argued to be clearer (since there are no conflicting/tangential definitions or inferences), but still suffers from needing to be explained to those not already familiar with it.

 
Old 05-27-2021, 08:32 AM   #24
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It goes round and round, doesn't it. If you say "free software", you have to explain that you're not talking about price or getting something for nothing. If you say "open source", that's misleading, because software could be open source but have all kinds of other conditions attached to using it. If you say "FOSS" or "libre", you have to explain what that means. And "copyleft" is completely uninformative to anyone who hasn't heard it before.
 
Old 05-27-2021, 12:49 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boughtonp View Post
Well you're currently repeating the term "open software" and I can't tell if you're intending it as a synonym of "free software", as an abbreviation of "open source software", or something else - so your assertion that "open software" has "a more clear meaning in the first place" does not hold.
Note that I claim "open software" has a more clear meaning, not that it's clear to the point of being completely self explanatory. Your level of confusion over my meaning is still superior to the average person's level of confusion by thinking the wrong meaning of "free software".

Now, bear in mind that my use of language is targeted at average people with limited familiarity of IT jargon. So, when I say "open software", I mean software which has some degree of "open-ness". What, precisely, does that mean? It does not have a precise meaning. But that's the way normal people use normal words. Usually, people do not use words with some very strict narrow definition.
 
Old 05-28-2021, 05:16 AM   #26
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I feel this thread is undesirably getting bogged down in semantics. Sorry if my post earlier contributed to that.

I would agree that there are many different terms and conditions attached to free software products offered under all the mentioned. The one thing they have in common is that you don't pay money for it. For the end user, cost is the main advantage of free software. So, like beer given away at a party, software is free as in Beer. The OP is right to be ambivalent about the expression. Who would invite RMS to their party now?
 
Old 05-28-2021, 08:16 AM   #27
boughtonp
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hazel View Post
If you say "free software", you have to explain that you're not talking about price or getting something for nothing. If you say "open source", that's misleading, because software could be open source but have all kinds of other conditions attached to using it. If you say "FOSS" or "libre", you have to explain what that means. And "copyleft" is completely uninformative to anyone who hasn't heard it before.
It's a benefit of the terms FLOSS/libre/copyleft that people are more liable to ask what you mean instead of having the wrong idea. (Except in spoken conversations, where the first one is likely interpreted as either a dental practise or a kid having a fit, and the second one may have them thinking you're into horoscopes.)

It would be nice if there was a short phrasing that gave an idea of what is meant, but to be accurate it would probably need to involve terms like "share-alike, non-discriminating" which is already quite a mouthful and still not clear enough to those completely unaware of the concepts.


Quote:
Originally Posted by business_kid View Post
I feel this thread is undesirably getting bogged down in semantics.
I'm taking the topics of this thread as the intended/actual/applied meaning(s) of the "free as in..." phrase, and about how better to convey the desired meaning (i.e. the four freedoms of software).

If you think semantics are undesirable in such a conversation, you may want to put the word "semantics" into a search engine.

If what you really mean is excessively pedantic (but also vague to the point of uselessness), you may have a point, and I'll avoid digging in that hole.

(And of course, if this isn't the direction newbiesforever wanted the thread to go, they can either steer things back towards vilifying Richard Stallman, or clarify what they actually want to discuss.)

 
Old 05-28-2021, 11:27 AM   #28
ondoho
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Quote:
Originally Posted by business_kid View Post
I feel this thread is undesirably getting bogged down in semantics.
Isn't that exactly all this thread originated from?
 
Old 05-29-2021, 09:17 AM   #29
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Er, well yes. But there's semantics, and extremes of semantics - like someone correcting this post or 3rd party correcting of corrections. IMHO, The semantics are a bit extreme.

The subject was that @newbiesforever felt ambivalent about Stallman's phrase, which he gave us a dissertation on as an English major. I feel ambivalent about Stallman - period. That includes nearly everything he said. I felt I could disregard some of @newbiesforever's remarks, because contrary to his apparent opinion, America is not the centre of the universe, or English thought. After all,
Quote:
Originally Posted by somebody
War is God's way of teaching Americans Geography
and somebody will probably attribute that correctly and perhaps even more correctly. That's semantics, imho.
 
Old 05-29-2021, 09:20 AM   #30
business_kid
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boughtonp
I'm taking the topics of this thread as the intended/actual/applied meaning(s) of the "free as in..." phrase, and about how better to convey the desired meaning (i.e. the four freedoms of software).

If you think semantics are undesirable in such a conversation, you may want to put the word "semantics" into a search engine.

If what you really mean is excessively pedantic (but also vague to the point of uselessness), you may have a point, and I'll avoid digging in that hole.

(And of course, if this isn't the direction newbiesforever wanted the thread to go, they can either steer things back towards vilifying Richard Stallman, or clarify what they actually want to discuss.)
You have put that very succinctly.
 
  


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