AcrobatReader: A bug or intentionally?

Art Alexion art.alexion at verizon.net
Fri Apr 27 16:57:24 BST 2007


On Thursday 26 April 2007 00:22, Matthew Flaschen wrote:
> Art Alexion wrote:
> > Adobe wants two things:  To give away as many readers as possible to add
> > value to the PDF format and, hence make money selling PDF creation and
> > editing software.  To keep its code proprietary.
>
> Given that they make money off proprietary creation software (despite
> broad competition), I don't understand (purely from a financial point of
> view) why they keep the reader proprietary; making it free software
> would make increase distribution.
>
> > Heresy alert: I don't care what Richard M. Stallman says, there is a
> > difference between free software and open source software.
>
> I guess you mean "at no charge" when you say free.  It would help if you
> said gratis instead, to avoid confusion.  I mean freedom when I say free
> software and sometimes say libre to clarify.  Stallman agrees with your
> statement, but for a totally different reason
> (http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-software-for-freedom.html).

English can be weak when it comes to such semantics.  We have "hot" and it can 
mean either "caliente" or "picante". "Love" can mean "agape" or "eros".  
And "free" can connote "a state of freedom" or "without charge" -- "gratis" 
and "libre" are latin; this is an English list.

I have heard the F/OSS community refer to the dichotomy as "free, as in beer" 
and "free, as in speech".  RMS wants to commandeer the language and restrict 
the meaning of "free" to "a state of freedom", and he can do so as long as 
people buy into it and let him.  However, I don't believe most English 
speakers know or care about Stallman's definitions.

The reader is given away without charge.  It is generally more capable than 
similarly purposed software because, currently, Adobe controls innovations in 
the PDF format and can most quickly take advantage of those innovations in 
its reader.  There could be many reasons why the reader code remains 
proprietary, but an extremely minute segment of their target users care as 
long as it is free of charge.

Back to the original issue of this thread.  There may be licensing issues that 
trouble Ubuntu and prevent them from continuing to include the Adobe reader 
in their repositories.  That's OK.  I still have the option of installing the 
binaries provided by Adobe.


-- 

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Art Alexion

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