free as in beer (was Re: Clean Sheet?)

Dafydd Harries daf at
Tue Feb 1 05:29:32 CST 2005

Ar 01/02/2005 am 01:06, ysgrifennodd Dionisio Martínez Soler:
> OK, let's me try to be clear.
> It is possible to do business offering services for free software
> developers (like Sourceforge, offering to be a "Power user" for
> $39/year) or in conjonction with free software (like Zope, where Zope is
> free software, but Zope Enterprise CMS is a software+service that can be
> obtained for a fee of $19,995). This is correct, legal, even ethical.
> The problem with Rosetta is: we don't know exactly what Rosetta is or
> will be. We know that it is now closed source (and we wonder WHY, what
> could be the reason? If someone can answer this simple question...),
> that it is not GPL (and we wonder what is / will be its license) and
> that it is said (in the wiki and in the mailing list, not in the web
> page of Canonical) it will become open source one day. But open source
> is not necessarily free (nor as in free beer nor as in free speech). So
> it is possible that Rosetta, in the future, could possibly be totally or
> partially commercial software. And, at the same time, we are invited to
> use and test Rosetta, and to report bugs or suggest features.

I'm confused by what you mean when you say "open source is not
necessarily free (nor as in free beer nor as in free speech)". My
understanding is that "open source" and "free software" are equivalent
only that the motivations behind them are different.

Canonical is not making any money from Rosetta. But even if we were, I
don't think that would change the situation for those using it to
translate free software.

> Some people, including me, are not willing to donate a single minute of
> their time to test a possibly commercial software, if they are not paid
> to do that. So until I know for sure that Rosetta is free, I don't want
> to use it, test it, report bugs, help to improve it or tell anybody
> about the existence of Rosetta without being paid, because commercial
> projects pay for publicity, testing, etc. Some people are willing to do
> all that without being paid, and this is OK, _if they know what they are
> doing_.

We are providing Rosetta as a service to the free software community. We
do not demand anything in return, but bug reports help all users of the
software, and publicity is also nice to have.

> Not being open source from the beginning, and not saying in the web page
> what the license of Rosetta is / will be exactly, that's a suspect
> behaviour, that's all. This seems publicity of something that will be
> commercial software in the future.

Rosetta is not under a licence.

If we haven't been clear about the legal status of Rosetta, it's because
we've been busy with other things, not because of malicious intent.


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