Subject: terms
From: Russell Nelson <>
Date: 5 Dec 1997 20:08:13 -0000

Brian Bartholomew writes:
 > What does "proprietary" mean?

Proprietary is a continuum.  The FSF holds proprietary rights to all
of its software (the right to distribute under copyrights other than
the GPL, for example).  But in this context, I think people would draw
the line at software which you cannot redistribute.  Source
availability isn't a strong criteria.  I know of proprietary software
which comes with source.  BSDI even lets you share source
modifications with other BSDI users, but their software is still

 > What is the term for software that is licensed to be available to
 > anyone, permanently, in source, for negligible cost; where any
 > derivative of the software falls under the same terms?

I don't know of a generic term for that kind of software.  The only
copyrights that I am aware of that have such permissions in them are
the GPL (the FSF copyright) and the FPL (the Aladdin Ghostscript

Adrian Karstan Likins writes:
 > 	Is there a FAQ available for this list? Just join and I am not sure of
 > the meanings on some of the terminology (libre for example...).

The problem is that "free software" has two meanings -- free of cost
(gratis), and freedom of distribution (libre).  I recommend that
people don't use the term "free".  I prefer "freed" for general use.
On this list we can adopt the jargon of gratis and libre since there
isn't a large influx of new members (welcome, Adrian!)

-russ <>  | Freedom is the
Crynwr Software supports freed software | PGPok |   primary cause of peace.
521 Pleasant Valley Rd. | +1 315 268 1925 voice | Obedient, Christian, statist:
Potsdam, NY 13676-3213  | +1 315 268 9201 FAX   |    you only get to pick two.