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73 votes
Accepted

Under copyleft, why distinguish between "free as in free speech" and "free as in free beer"?

You've noticed that if a piece of software is "free as in speech," it will probably become "free as in beer" too. That's completely true. The important thing, however, is that the ...
Tanner Swett's user avatar
  • 1,165
41 votes

Is my software still "free" if I charge for its commercial use and not for non-commercial use?

You may charge money for distributing free (as-in-freedom) software. However, if your license is a true FSF-approved free license, then charging based on purpose isn't so much a license violation as ...
apsillers's user avatar
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40 votes
Accepted

Is Linux Mint's version of Firefox really Free software? Is it compliant with the MPL?

Software is free (as defined by the FSF) if it gives you the four freedoms: The freedom to run the program as you wish, for any purpose (freedom 0). The freedom to study how the program works, ...
unor's user avatar
  • 5,670
37 votes

Is the TeX typesetting system free and open source?

TeX was created before Open Source was formally defined. Its use is not restricted; it is stated explicitly in Knuth's writings that its methods and algorithms may be used freely for any purpose, ...
barbara beeton's user avatar
36 votes
Accepted

Which licenses give me a guarantee that a software I'm installing is completely open-source, free of closed-source dependencies or components?

No Open Source license does that. Even the GNU GPL license allows one program to interact with another non-free program via pipes, sockets, streams etc. While the licenses can't do this, there are ...
curiousdannii's user avatar
32 votes

SSPL and the Open Source Definition

(Update 2019-03-09: MongoDB retracted the license from OSI review.) Does the SSPL have a chance of getting OSI-approved? Yes, of course there's a chance, though currently it looks like a rather slim ...
amon's user avatar
  • 39.1k
26 votes
Accepted

Is the TeX typesetting system free and open source?

Yes, it is open source, at least according to the Open Source Definition, the closest thing the community has to an agreed definition of open source. The clause that allows this is Clause 4: ...
Philip Kendall's user avatar
23 votes
Accepted

Why do some, but not all, 100% Free Software distros rebrand Firefox?

Mozilla requires that the product must be built unmodified or the changes made to the distribution be approved by them. Debian considered parts of Firefox (the trademarked logo, and non-free artwork) ...
planetmaker's user avatar
  • 11.2k
18 votes

Which licenses give me a guarantee that a software I'm installing is completely open-source, free of closed-source dependencies or components?

Which licenses give me a guarantee that a software I'm installing is completely open-source, free of closed-source dependencies or components? Unfortunately, a license cannot do that. Here's the ...
Stephen C's user avatar
  • 441
14 votes

Is my software still "free" if I charge for its commercial use and not for non-commercial use?

The main problem you will be having is with the freedom to redistribute copies (freedom 2 and 3). The GNU project codifies this freedom in GPL clarifying it's exact meaning: You are free to ...
slebetman's user avatar
  • 739
14 votes

Under copyleft, why distinguish between "free as in free speech" and "free as in free beer"?

This is why most Open Source vendors sell service plans rather than software. Yes, the nature of Open Source licenses would allow anyone to download and install the software for free, and to in turn ...
nick012000's user avatar
13 votes

Software licensing - Pre 1970's

Was the software(before 1970's) released with free source? Well, there was surely software released with and without free source, and lots of machine code software where the distinction was of minor ...
Doc Brown's user avatar
  • 403
12 votes

Can a closed-source software be free

What you describe is usually called freeware. The FSF does not consider freeware to be free software, considering it to be proprietary software, and asks people not to call free software freeware. ...
whatsisname's user avatar
12 votes

Under copyleft, why distinguish between "free as in free speech" and "free as in free beer"?

Actually I think this rule is coming from the ages before internet was available for everyone. Like 29 years ago you could buy a few floppy disks with linux on it. And that the vendor could charge you ...
lalala's user avatar
  • 221
11 votes
Accepted

Is my software still "free" if I charge for its commercial use and not for non-commercial use?

The GNU Philosophy says: “Free software” means software that respects users' freedom and community. Roughly, it means that the users have the freedom to run, copy, distribute, study, change and ...
sugarfi's user avatar
  • 330
11 votes

Software licensing - Pre 1970's

Your question is very unclear and confused, but the simple answer is: before the 1970s, software wasn't copyrightable in the US, so the very idea of "licensing" doesn't apply. You cannot put a ...
Jörg W Mittag's user avatar
8 votes

Contradiction: Free "software" does not mean "noncommercial"

You have stumbled, like many others, across a basic ambiguity in English which does not exist in many other languages; the word free has more than one meaning. The important thing about free software ...
MadHatter's user avatar
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8 votes
Accepted

What's the point of running free software on non-free hardware?

I don't think your question admits of an answer better than "you are right, it's not a great idea". But it may help to know you're not the only person who thinks this way. I heard Georg Greve, ex-...
MadHatter's user avatar
  • 49.6k
8 votes
Accepted

Is nmap's custom NPSL license free?

It is probably not free. Going through the points that concern me: To avoid any misunderstandings, we consider software to constitute a "derivative work" of Covered Software for the ...
Kevin's user avatar
  • 5,552
8 votes
Accepted

Doubt about the use of proxy under AGPL license

You can probably use the software. The AGPL-3.0 is exactly equivalent to the GPL-3.0, except for section 13 which only applies “if you modify the Program”. You have not modified the AGPL-covered ...
amon's user avatar
  • 39.1k
7 votes

Are there examples of the free software which are available to run and copy as gratis but source code is being sold?

The FSF includes Freedom #1 in their Free Software Definition: The freedom to study how the program works, and change it so it does your computing as you wish (freedom 1). Access to the source code ...
apsillers's user avatar
  • 36.3k
7 votes
Accepted

Release a BSD-licensed but closed-source program?

Is it possible to release binary-only under a permissively-free licence? Yes, absolutely. We have other questions (1, 2) here about that, but to me they boil down to "it's a bit weird, you ...
MadHatter's user avatar
  • 49.6k
6 votes

Is my software still "free" if I charge for its commercial use and not for non-commercial use?

Technically you still have free software, but such a business model by itself is questionable. If your product is an end-user application, this is unlikely to work as a pricing model. Anyone who ...
Max Xiong's user avatar
  • 987
6 votes

How much of my code becomes GPL if I use some GPL code and how different does my code have to be to not be GPL?

Copyright law is centered around making a copy of something and then doing things with that copy. How such a copy is made is usually not specified in the copyright laws, which makes that a "...
Bart van Ingen Schenau's user avatar
6 votes

What kind of license is Redis' RSAL (Redis Source Available License)?

While there is a kind of classification for open-source licenses, the classifications don't really extend beyond open-source. The best classification that I can come up with for the RSAL is that it is ...
Bart van Ingen Schenau's user avatar
6 votes

Under copyleft, why distinguish between "free as in free speech" and "free as in free beer"?

The answers here are great, and this one won’t be better, but there is a point that hasn’t been addressed in any of them and can be pertinent to this conversation: Because Bob's copy of the game is ...
KRyan's user avatar
  • 161
5 votes

Can any Firefox add-on be free software now that add-on signing is required?

The Free Software Definition (from the FSF) is: A program is free software if the program's users have the four essential freedoms: The freedom to run the program as you wish, for any purpose (...
Zimm i48's user avatar
  • 5,597
5 votes

Under copyleft, why distinguish between "free as in free speech" and "free as in free beer"?

While someone who had bought a piece of copyleft software only distributed by the author for paying customers could indeed redistribute it for free, it doesn't necessarily follow that someone would. ...
ilkkachu's user avatar
  • 168
4 votes

What's the point of running free software on non-free hardware?

You said “hardware”, not specifically “PC” hardware, so let’s talk about why Free software on Proprietary hardware might make sense in this IoT world we’re living in. First, let me say that I’ll be ...
RubberDuck's user avatar
  • 5,466

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