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

Dionisio Martínez Soler dmsoler at
Mon Jan 31 18:06:42 CST 2005

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.

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

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.

That's why some people, including me, will wait and see...


Dionisio Martínez Soler

Dafydd Harries wrote:
> Rosetta was developed entirely from the beginning within Canonical.
> Rosetta is based upon free software such as Python, Zope and Postgres,
> but it is itself not under the GPL or any other free licence.
> Note also that Sourceforge is proprietary, yet you advocate using it as
> a service for free software development. Rosetta is in a similar
> situation.

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