Subject: Re: Cygnus and proprietary software
From: Bob Weiner <>
Date: Tue, 23 Dec 1997 00:30:50 -0800

>>>>> "BB" == Brian Bartholomew <> writes:

   >> I didn't say that they could download it.
   BB> Well, ok.  I think we're using the same words for different concepts
   BB> again.  There are lots of different shades of "free" software.

I think most people here consistently use free, freed and libre software
to mean software under the GNU Public License, no more no less.  You seem
to want to change that meaning to something entirely different that applies
a number of your own personal standards.  You should invent a different
license for that and get people to discuss it but in the mean time, your
points and the reasoning behind them are not well defined.

   BB> The kind I'm describing is freely redistributable in source, and
   BB> attempts to attain maximum distribution and maximum use while charging
   BB> users for no more than the cost of distribution.

Freed software does not have motives of its own as you describe above.
There may be people behind the software who attempt to achieve some of these
goals but these are not natural components of the freed software marketplace
and certainly are not tenets by which anyone would seriously think of driving an
FSB except as a loss leader.

   BB> If you lock up "free" software with all those restrictions then it
   BB> becomes indistinguishable from proprietary software.  Quite a few
   BB> proprietary vendors are giving out source code now.  I like the
   BB> practice, but it doesn't make their software free.

And when a vendor chooses to perform limited distributions, it doesn't reduce
the freeness of the software, again under the GPL.  The GPL is there to
protect the rights of people who have and who use the software not to have an
effect on aliens who have never touched a computer or on people who have yet
to obtain or to use the software.  The point of freed software is not to
distinguish itself from proprietary solutions but to provide rights to users
that proprietary vendors may or may not choose to grant to their own users
at their own discretion.  Freed software removes that discretion.

I'm still unclear on one thing, Brian.  Why do you want to discuss a new
free software model with less business potential than the GPL on the free
software business list?  Put on your business hat and explain what you want
to achieve as a business model, rather than your user hat under which you
offer concepts that you personally would like to have in software that you
use.  I'm sure you are thinking of something deeper than you may be
communicating.  I'm not clear, though, on whether it is relevant to a
pro-business discussion.