How can one say Linux is $-free . . . ?

Martin Marcher martin.marcher at
Thu Dec 21 09:53:25 UTC 2006

Am 21.12.2006 um 05:24 schrieb YAGNESH N DESAI:

> This is reply to a old topic which I raised when I just started  
> using LINUX.
> This is to put to the record that I am still using Linux (feels  
> good to have survived)

Congratulations :)

> Date: Thu, 26 Oct 2006 16:32:31 +0530
> From: "YAGNESH N DESAI" <ynd at>
> Subject: How can one say Linux is  $-free . . . ?
> To: <ubuntu-users at>
> Message-ID: <s540e3a4.012 at>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"
> Friends;
> I just shifted to Linux and have tried on laptop read a lot about the
> meaning of Free. But just was wondering is it really $-free . . . ?

No it isn't and hopefully never will (imho as that won't survive).  
Just to make sure you got it. Free Software isn't free as in beer,  
free as in freedom (often heard that never thought about it until  
well, let me tell you....)

Once upon a time....

I was searching for an accounting software that was "free" (at that  
time I thought free as in nothing to pay for it) I found several that  
wouldn't charge a cent for it but were quite... useless. Now after a  
lot of research I also found several non-free (again just thinking in  
terms of money here). The best I could find to use was I think it was  
called qtudo which was GPLd at that time and free of charge. The  
downside was the author tried to make money with support (imho in the  
wrong way because he did provide the sources and all of the stuff but  
didn't give any documentation - nada, nothing) - last thing I saw  
from qtudo was that the version wasn't available free anymmore (don't  
know about GPL but I think he also dropped GPL for the new versions).

Now what I found was a nice GPL piece of software that one could  
download install had documentation used an sql backend,  
customizeable, all the nifty stuff that you could think of. Ok so I  
started setting it up playing around, doing some stuff just to find:  
Oh my god, someone actually charges for GPLd software. And not too  
little if you used they wanted about 2000 € for the basic module  
(which was just a part of the source you could download and of course  
lacked a lot of features I wanted). Ok so I started asking around and  

That is just normal, good behaviour even and absolutely correct to do  

Imagine what would happen if Oracle GPLd their database server. I  
guess they wouldn't drop charging for it but support would simply  
say: Is this a support version? and if it is not you are screwed (Not  
that I'm an oracle expert or a anything I just didn't want to use the  
MS example)

Well I ended up sticking with the old accounting software for Windows  
with windows but switched to openoffice and all the other apps that  
are useable (note that I am using free (as in both, beer and freedom)  
software, even thou I just said it is good to charge for software). I  
do support some of the projects by buying the distro. But still what  
would you live from if you were coding all day and give it away for  

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