Distributed Copyright: Libre, not "free beer"

Clark C. Evans cce at clarkevans.com
Thu Jan 18 19:28:38 UTC 2001

On Thu, 18 Jan 2001, Russell Nelson wrote:
> Manfred Schmid writes:
>  > I hereby request an official Board statement: Does OSI approval of
>  > licenses require the software to be free in the sense of "free beer"?
> [ I prefer to use the terms "gratis" and "libre".  In English, "free"
> means both those things at the same time, and in our context is often
> VERY confusing. ]
> No.  I (just one of the board members of OSI) don't care if software
> is gratis.  Open Source (or "Free", aka rms-Free) software must be
> libre.  That it ends up being gratis is just a side-effect; sometimes
> a good one, sometimes a bad one.  

I also believe that an appropriate license is "libre" and not
"free-beer".  I wrote about this two years back, at
www.distributedcopyright.org ; my original thoughts had a 
serious flaw (with regard to trademark), a more succinct
and updated version is at http://www.clarkevans.com/jackson.txt

My primary problem developing this further has been time and
a reasonable product to license under this mechanism.  I'm 
currently working on a product; and perhaps one of these days
I'll have time to get the non-profit up and running.

Clearly the OpenSource style ("gratis -> free beer") of licensing
does have serious applications, as I've written and contributed
to many open source projects myself.  However, I just don't
think it is the solution to *all* software; and I think that
standard proprietary software is ugly enough to deserve
some competition.

Manfried,  If you and others would like to "join-in" and help
refine DistributedCopyright.Org, this would be great.  Right
now the list server is down and when I get time I'll update
the web site (which is now over a year old).   

Until serious people join in, I'll plod along developing my
killer app and then will go to market under DistributedCopyright.
A product, I now feel, is the *only* way to bring a license
into view (I've ranted enough trying to get others to change
their license...)

Kind Regards and Sincere Hopes for a Liberating License this year!

Clark Evans

P.S.  The style of license as you have designed it does not
gaurentee "libre".  A seperate non-profit must hold the
copyright for this to be true.

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