I recently revised this article in Dec 2007. Speech should not be brought up when we are dealing with software code, since speech can easily be censored with GNU software. I've added more metaphors to help you understand why software should never be compared to speech.. and GNU continues to make this comparison - while ironically letting people charge money for speech and consulting (a heavy restriction put on speech). The whole 'free speech' nonsense is why one should not use a GNU license. The phrase 'free as in speech' has no meaning or merit at all when compared to software, and the GNU license is so confusing and meaningless that it hurts my brain just thinking about it.
The GNU licenses are a load of crock, and should not be used.
The phrase free speech is completely meaningless when it comes to GPL software, since it says right in section 11 of the GPL that the software is "licensed free of charge" (more on GNG is not GNU website). Someone who charges for professional consulting and professional support contracts on GNU software (such as MySQL or GNU Gnat) is restricting speech severely (not allowing you to consult with humans without restrictions in place). Essentially, with today's digital camera and microphone technology, all Richard Stallman's speeches about software can be replicated just as easily as software code - and yet Stallman has the nerve to think it is okay to charge for speech, but not for software (again the GPL in section 11 states "free of charge" clearly).
A mailing list is another example of freely replicate-able information (free consulting) yet many GPL companies have the nerve to charge money for speech (charge for accessing their consulting mailing lists, but you get to download the source code free - see the loophole? free the source, but not the information about the source! hypocrisy 101).
This page also discusses the reasons why GNU licenses are wrong, confusing, and illegitimate.
Quoted from the GNU license:
BECAUSE THE PROGRAM IS LICENSED FREE OF CHARGE, THERE IS NO WARRANTY FOR THE PROGRAM
Now who said a free software license had anything to do with cost? Obviously software has everything to do with cost - but RMS pretends it doesn't. He says that software is all about free speech. So what is this mention of FREE OF CHARGE in his license? This quote above explains why GNU has nothing to do with speech and everything to do with cost. In their own words, GNU software is FREE OF CHARGE not free of SPEECH. Note: this site mainly discusses GPL 2, a widely used license. We haven't even cracked open the GPL 3 license and why it's full of horse sh*t. Linus Torvalds has criticized GPL 3 heavily (but he don't know ding about dong).
Charging money for hourly work on software (consulting, or giving speeches about it), or charging for cd media but not charging for source code, is still a form of severe speech restriction by moving the goal posts (charge for charging?). There should be a GNU consulting license that requires everyone to give away free consulting. Consulting is speech. In fact consulting is more "speech" than software itself! Free speech involves you giving all your speech, documentation, and consulting away without restricting it. Yet the GNU license permits us to charge for SPEECH and restrict speech!
If free software really was FREEING humans, I would:
- have the freedom to charge money directly for source snippets; not for just my time but my actual source snippets. However I would not be able to charge for documentation (speech), or consulting (speech). Charging is a form of restriction. If GNU free software was really about freedom, then:
- I should have the freedom to charge for the sources that are on a CD (not just the cost of the CD media like the GNU license permits, the actual cost of source snippets directly)
- I should have the freedom charge money for the binaries and only give the
source away if I want. After all, I am free to do as I like.
Stallman's Freedom is a Vague Word
Freedom is meaningless when Stallman defines it himself, since Stallman is not the official word. His freedom disobeys the dictionary. See GNG for more details.
If the software was ideally free (something that doesn't exist), it would allow me to choose a method of reimbursement. This is freedom. The freedom to be able to pick a method of reimbursement for work done. Charging money for transferring software over to another CD or computer media is just a loop hole.
In fact charging money for CONSULTING about the software may require diving into the code and making changes to the code, so charging for CONSULTING about the software is directly/indirectly charging money for the CODE of the software. So according to the GNU philosophy, one cannot even charge for CONSULTING of software (yet RMS has been making a living consulting about GNU for ever since GNU was first created).
If you are a software author, please refrain from using the GNU license as the term "freedom of speech" (in relation to software) essentially means nothing concrete. It is vague and meaningless.
Do I have something against GNU? Did they catch me and am I trying to get back at them? Absolutely not. I have never had trouble with GNU code because I don't use GNU licenses for my code where possible. I have contributed to GPL and GNU projects before. The reason I am pointing out the hypocrisy of GNU, is simply because I
have logical critical thinking skills. Someone who can do logic, will find that Stallman's licenses and philosophies make no sense and have no merit. The GNU free software foundation is not a free software foundation.. it is a Stallmanist cult practicing Stallmanism.
It is impossible for the GNU/GPL license to be clear and reasonable unless FSF scrapped all their current wording and started from scratch. The GNU license is composed of such rubbish and such error that is impossible to recover the GNU license. The license is Pargent and unfortunately thousands of people were Pargent enough to believe in and use the GNU GPL license. This is partly due to the fact that the GNU GPL is so popular - the fact that it is so popular makes people think it is legitimate and sensible. After all, if every Catholic church said the moon was flat and that it couldn't be round.. it must be flat then.. because that is the popular view.
From LinuxToday.com article
The GPL is geared to share knowledge and information, not capital. If I share code I have written, I still have to figure out a way to get paid. Maybe I will provide services, such as technical support and documentation.
Hold on a minute there oh so swift inspector gadget... TECHNICAL SUPPORT, CONSULTING, AND DOCUMENTATION ARE ALL FORMS OF KNOWLEDGE AND INFORMATION. Charging money for consulting, technical support, or documentation violates the principal of free speech according to Stallman (but he ignores it, and keeps on repeating to us that it's about free speech, blah blah). Charging money for INFORMATION is the same as charging money for SPEECH. Charging money (big hefty hourly fees) for SPEECH is severely restricting and censoring the speech which could have been written on paper and/or recorded on audio tapes making it easy to copy and distribute. MIT Open Courseware (i.e. Walter Lewin) is an example of what Stallman should be doing, giving all his consulting and education about GNU away free, easy to replicate, not holding a gun to someone's head and demanding they pay him up front for consulting on cruise ships.
Free Consulting (as in speech)
I have news for you all. CONSULTING, DOCUMENTATION, AND TECHNICAL SUPPORT are all forms of INFORMATION. Software is also a form of information. SHARING TECHNICAL TIPS is similar to SHARING SOFTWARE CODE. Paying for TECHNICAL TIPS is similar to paying for SOFTWARE CODE. If I restrict my TECHNICAL TIPS and CONSULTING for only those who can PAY FOR THE TECHNICAL TIPS and CONSULTING, then I am RESTRICTING SPEECH. Therefore, please repeat after me:
"CHARGING for SOURCE CODE is a form of RESTRICTION just as CHARGING for CONSULTING is a form of RESTRICTION".
CONSULTING, TECHNICAL TIPS, DOCUMENTATION can be easily replicated at almost no cost by
- tape recording your lessons on audio tapes
- writing your lessons down in HTML/PDF files
But wait a minute! Writing my lessons down in a comprehensible manner which can be easily replicated takes time! I should be able to charge money for writing my lessons (compiled on audio tape) because it took me time to write them down.
Ah ha! Let's play devils advocate. Writing my software down in a comprehensible manner which can be easily replicated takes time! I should be able to charge money for code, and binaries, because it took me time to write them and compile them. It also took time to compile my audio tapes, and no one shall steal those from me.
Source code and its comments are not audio tapes? Not the same thing? Copyright on my audio tapes is different than software? Software is not an individual artistic creation.. rather they are just... uhm... something, else?
Consulting which is charged hourly for, is not to be recorded and replicated by others freely? to ruin the consultant's living that he makes, if he sells the recorded tapes himself and demands that no one else sell these consulting tapes?
If Richard Stallman was a brilliant man, he'd soon figure out that CONSULTING and TECHNICAL SUPPORT, and LIGHT BULBS should be also released under a GNU license (GNU Consulting License, GNU Light Bulb License, GNU Tree Cutting License).
One may argue that recording my consulting on an audio tape does not end up being personalized service - and that one could therefore charge for personalized service only. Those who argue this are missing the entire point! Why can I not charge for customized software, then - i.e. driving to the company's location with a piece of custom software designed specifically for that company? I couldn't charge for the software, I'd have to charge for my gasoline driving there (or charge for the so called distribution of software.. i.e. just a silly LOOP HOLE to ultimately charge for the source code in the end).
Guess what - what if my gas only cost me $5.34 and what if the customized software took me 635 hours to prepare? Is it a viable business plan to mark up my gas expense to reimburse myself for the 635 hours I spent on the programming? And if I am marking up my gasoline price, am I not just redirecting or relaying the charge for SOURCE code elsewhere? When I charge $436 for my gas which only cost me $5.34 - am I really charging for SOURCE CODE and just pretending that I'm charging for gas?
Isn't it just a loop hole to be able to charge money for software through GASOLINE! The only difference is that on the CUSTOMER COPY RECEIPT it says that they paid me $436 dollars for gas expense, but in reality I was being compensated for SOURCE CODE and for SOFTWARE. But the GNU/GPL license says that one cannot charge for software.. it must be FREE OF CHARGE. It does say this in the license - please do not argue that the GNU license only discusses speech (which even if it did, that would be vague and meaningless).
Costly Speech - Restricted Speech
If I can charge for the CONSULTING and technical support (as MySQL does) then it means I am severely restricting speech, and GNU is therefore automatically VOID. But of course, GNU folks don't understand this - they continue to ignore the bottom line.
Why does one have to charge for gasoline? Well, because the GNU license and website is so f*&king confusing. For example, see this nonsense:
"...we suggest it is better to avoid using the term “selling software” and
choose some other wording instead. For example, you could say “distributing free
software for a fee”—that is unambiguous."
Instead of GNU being clearer and simpler, it just adds more and more confusion and complexity. We can't charge for the software.. we have to charge for our documentation, our gasoline, our tampons, our distribution service machine, our preprocessor or precompiler instead of our compiler, etc.
Z505 software recommends when selling GNU software, you instead use the following phrase:
We freely do not sell free software for a free of cost not chargeable fee that is free which freely includes our tampon and electical expense costs. Free is NOT free.
GNU Is Pargent
It isn't always an idiot's fault for being Pargent. Some are born with the inability to think through problems with full intelligence. It's like trying to teach a Dog or a Cat what a CD-ROM drive is on the computer. It's very hard to do so if the dog was born without the ability to understand complicated tools such as a CD ROM. The dog may never have the ability to comprehend the subject. The dog just keeps saying "so do you have a treat in there, or what? Do I get a free (as in bark, not speech) treat now and is it in the CD ROM Drive?"
Why Not Use GNU Licenses Then?
So you may be wondering, what does this article have to do with why people should not use GNU licenses?
The reason one should not use GNU licenses is because they are just a bunch of bizarre confusing meaningless personal opinions put into paragraphs. The license has nothing to do with free speech since anyone can censor their consulting with GNU software. Censoring speech is HOW you make money with GNU software. And GNU makes you go through wild legally complex dangerous loop holes with legally confusing wording in order to profit from the software.
The code remains uncensored in GNU.. GNU licenses are about code, not speech. GNU is about free of COST code.. not free SPEECH. It says it right in the GNU license..
BECAUSE THE PROGRAM IS LICENSED FREE OF CHARGE
GNU licenses claim to be about speech.. but they are not. Censoring speech is how GNU licenses work.. and why most businesses make money from GNU licenses.. because we CAN censor the speech, not because we can't. Which is the irony of the whole license.. and which is the reason we should not be using such a confusing license.
Using a license that allows censorship of consulting and allows censorship of speech, while demanding speech to be uncensored (since they think speech is about the cryptic source code only) is extremely confusing, incorrect, paradoxical, ironic, and invalid. No where in the dictionary does it state that speech is 'code that runs software'. GNU is just one huge confusing ball of spaghetti that reminds me of someone on an LSD drug trip.
This is about free in cost code, not free speech. It says so right in the license. FREE OF CHARGE. Always remember that.
Apples and bananas don't come with molecular source code on their stickers, and not too many people want the molecular source code on the stickers since that would be obnoxious. One percent of people may want this, and it would be nice if they could gain access to the molecular blueprints of the banana. But in most cases, 99 percent of people do not care.
GNU acts as if we are in serious jeopardy whenever we eat bananas, because these bananas do not give us the molecular blueprints each time we chew them. But some people, maybe 99 percent of banana eaters.. don't care, and are not harmed. Nor do molecules have anything to do with speech. This is just about free banana blueprints.. not free speech. I can still charge for and restrict speech by offering courses about the banana.. even if the banana is released under GNU which is supposed to free up speech. I can ban people or hold gun to their head and ask them to pay me if they want to learn about the banana molecules.. even if they can freely eat the banana in its current form without knowing about the molecules.
Forcing molecular blueprints to be distributed with the banana? Can be extremely obnoxious to 99 percent of people who do not care.
Forcing a huge license to be shipped with the banana that no one understands? Can be extremely obnoxious to the banana eater who just wants to eat his banana. It has nothing to do with speech. That's just about chemistry of the banana being included with the banana or not.
Claiming that it is okay to ask for payment when you need to teach a course about bananas, but it is not okay to charge any money for the banana itself? Also ludicrous. Shall we start the Free Speech Grocery Store License?
It's not about speech it is about FREE OF COST CODE or FREE OF COST BLUEPRINTS TO THE BANANA. It's about specifically FREE OF COST BLUEPRINTS.. not speech. Speech is the consulting, which you are fully permitted to censor with GNU. Stallman does it himself and earns a living by censoring his speech, since his code is open and he cannot censor the code itself.
If we demanded that consulting be open and free (as in speech, with one bad form of restriction being cost for the consulting), then one would have to charge for the source code itself. It goes round and round in circles with one restriction relaying over to another freedom. It's a recursive scam.
Use less confusing licenses. That's really the only option. Saying that software is free in speech is like saying my index finger looks like your mom's Banana tree in her back yard. It is completely drug related, vague, meaningless, LSD acid tripping nonsense.