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August 08, 2008



The same argument applies to freeware software vs. Open source software, which is free most of the time but also gives one the freedom to change it to suit them, and redistribute the software WHILE those changes persist.



Are you sure it's not a joke?, an Asian might say "three beers" as "free beer"

Crosbie Fitch

There is also a subtle abuse of 'free' as in 'unconstrained even by a superior right'.

If freedom is good, and freedom is to be without constraint, then it could only be for the good that I should be unconstrained in my pursuit of X.

"I should be free to swim in your pool, use your car, eat your food, smack my child, shoot trespassers, etc."

Free software would be more ethically couched in terms of 'Liberty unconstrained by the commercial privileges of copyright and patent'.

Free software = software unencumbered by commercial privilege.

Free software liberates people who purchase it (as far as is possible), from the privileges of copyright and patent that would otherwise constrain them. It should permit them no privilege or additional power over their fellow men.


I enjoy using "Extra gratis", it might even be a legal term in the Dutch and German dictionaries already.

faizal kamal

hai /. . .
thanks for that info...
nice info


Hey Chris,

I fear it's "liber", not "libre".

Then, "liber" should come from "libens", more or less "happy & willing" (the same "libido" derives from, funny huh?).

I am soooo sure this will help!!!

Chris Anderson

@CoAl: Thanks for the catch! Fixed...

oreillette bluetooth

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The Long Tail by Chris Anderson

Notes and sources for the book

FREE was available in all digital forms--ebook, web book, and audiobook--for free shortly after the hardcover was published on July 7th. The ebook and web book were free for a limited time and limited to certain geographic regions as determined by each national publisher; the unabridged MP3 audiobook (get zip file here) will remain free forever, available in all regions.

Order the hardcover now!