Subject: Re: libre end-user apps
From: "L. Peter Deutsch" <>
Date: Sat, 29 Nov 97 15:17 PST

> You've probably posted before about this paper, but I'm not familiar with
> it, and I'd like to read it.  What is it called, and how can I get a copy?

It's called "Licensing Alternatives for Freely Redistributable Software", is
included in the proceedings of the February 1996 Conference on Freely
Redistributable Software, and is also available from
in a variety of formats.

Please note that the paper uses the term "Freely Redistributable" to mean
"licenses that at a minimum allow individuals to receive software for
personal use without restriction or payment, and that allow non-commercial
redistribution of such software."  This is a shorter list of requirements
than for libre software, and consequently includes some licenses that are
more restrictive than the GPL.

> I guess, though, I'm a little fuzzy on what you mean by 'end-user
> applications'.

What I mean is programs that are used for purposes other than software
development and that are intended to interact directly with the user as
opposed to being a functional part of other programs.  The former condition
would exclude gcc and GNU emacs; the latter would exclude Linux.

> These are the things I usually do with my computer: 
> communicate, browse the Web, write text documents. I directly use these
> pieces of software to do these things.

Yes, I'd consider these end-user applications.

> I also play with my computer, to make it do new things (color graphs, look
> up phone numbers, silly things) or to make it more pleasant to work with
> (Afterstep, Enlightenment, KDE, shell aliases, etc.)  Are these end-user
> applications?

I'd probably consider many of them to be so.  Now, are they intended to be
easily and pleasantly usable by people other than you?  That's roughly what
I mean by "polished" applications.

> Tkman

No longer fully libre.

> Lynx

Yes, I've used it and I like it quite a lot.  However, by the standards of
today's consumer market (the people buying Windows apps), its user interface
is medieval.

> Pine

No longer purely libre.

> vim

Sorry, I'm ignorant about what this is.


Yes, I was wrong when I said I thought it was no longer libre and/or was no
longer being developed.

I'm glad to see this starting to happen.  When I see libre (or even other
kinds of gratis) applications starting to win user-population-share away
from proprietary Windows applications, I'll be very impressed.  Possibly
except for GIMP, it seems to me there's still a ways to go.


L. Peter Deutsch         |       Aladdin Enterprises ::::
203 Santa Margarita Ave. | tel. +1-650-322-0103 (AM only); fax +1-650-322-1734
Menlo Park, CA 94025     |
*Oppose bulk-mail abuse of your mailbox and newsgroups:*