Software Freedom is Free Speech or Free Beer?

By Xah Lee. Date: . Last updated: .

We need to get this one out of the way. “Free as in speech” does not mean “free as in beer”, but in fact if you look for GPL software it is almost always “free as in beer”. It's not hard to see why. If you try to sell GPL software, it is possible for your punter to buy it, write some trivial change and resell it under GPL for less, undercutting you. By parity of reasoning this can be repeated down the chain until the price tends to zero. So designers using the GPL nearly always make their work free.

The above is excerpted from:

Mark Tarver Problems of Open Source 2022-07-03 QhB9c
[The Problems of Open Source By Dr Mark Tarver. At ]

Mark Tarver is the creator of the Qi lisp language , a lisp variant based on Common Lisp and major functional lang features comparable to OCaml or Haskell.

Free Software proponents wouldn't admit, that if “FSF Free” Software is actually not $free$, it would immediately lose all its force, and become obscure perhaps within a year in human society. In other words, the $free$ is used to sell FSF's concept of “Software Freedom”, because otherwise this ideology has no place to go in the real world, much like the situation in communism (which in practice is forced upon people by dictators.).

Note that the word “communism” in Chinese is “共产主义”. The word 共 means “share; public”, the word 产 means “properties; resources; production”, the word 主义 means school of thought, philosophy.

Open Source = Power to the People?

Recently discovered a communism expert Catherine A Fitzpatrick. In the following article, she criticizes open source movement:

[What is Technocommunism and the Internet of Things? By Catherine Fitzpatrick. At , accessed on 2011-08-05 ]

One part that caught my eye. Quote:

• those proclaiming they have liberated content or put the free tools into the workers' hands have merely commodified relationships and driven companies relentlessly to having to sell ads or sell lists of people to data mine — ultimately technocommunism subverts and perverts what it invades with lies about being for the public's good, and harms the public interest.

So, indeed, with the great success of open source, comes today's situation that every page is plastered with ads. Even many hard core tech geeking programers, put Google Ads on their personal home pages that offer their free software. Ten years ago, it is unthinkable act. They are the very people who hate ads and commercialism to the extreme. Yet, for vast majority of these tech geeker's personal sites, they make perhaps $1 a month. (a rough calculation is 1k page view = $1.) The main benefits are of course the big companies running the ads, for example, Google and Facebook. Open Source is Power to the people?