Freeware Python editor

Grant Griffin not.this at
Sat Nov 3 07:11:03 CET 2001

Cliff Wells wrote:
> On Friday 02 November 2001 14:25, Grant Griffin wrote:
> > About which part?  (And no fair saying "all" <wink>.)
> Due to PSA restrictions, I'm not "free" to divul

In that case, let me help--as I am undeniably free to do.

First of all, let me say that, clearly, I miss the point of "free beer"
by freely intermingling the concepts of "free speech" (meaning "free" in
a freedom sense) and "free beer" (meaning "free" in a cost sense).  It
is unclear whether I do this accidentally or deliberatly--but that's
just the sort of thing people like me tend to do.

In fact, "free" and "free" are actually two different words, though
their meanings certainly are related.  It is an accident of the English
language that these two words happen to be spelled (and, some would even
argue, pronounced) the same.  As a card-carrying American, I confess
that I speak only one language (having failed at learning two others:
although one technically is free to learn other languages in America,
it's nearly impossible to do so in practice).  However, my guess is that
certain other languages both spell and pronounce these two words very
differently because, in fact, their meanings are quite different.

Still, confusing "free" (in a speech sense) with "free" (in a beer
sense) is a great gimmick--just the sort of thing we advocates of free
speech and free beer might seize upon in our unending attempts to
further confuse the gifted college-age slaves we enlist in the noble
cause of Free Software (capital "F", capital "S").  First, we get them
interested in the beer sense of it--after all, isn't that what it sounds
like, and--like free beer itself--isn't that all they wanted in the
first place?  Then, we tell them, "No, no, no--think 'free speech', not
'free beer'".

They're puzzled for a moment, but then the light bulb goes on,
and--eureka!--we have a new convert.  "_Ohhh_...", they say knowingly.

You see, convincing people to create Free Software in a Beer sense is a
pretty hard sell--after all, writing commercial-quality software (which,
notably, is almost invariably _not_ free in a beer sense) takes a lot of
hard work.  And why should they just _give_ their hard work away when
lots of folks make their living _selling_ software?  And heck, they
probably got bills to pay.

But Free Software in a Speech sense--now *that's* a Cause: something
Noble, Just, and True; the sort of thing the youthful idealists of the
world are just itching to get involved in--especially after a Free Beer
or two.

Yes, it's a classic bait-and-switch--get 'em interested in Free Beer,
then sell 'em Free Speech, to get 'em to write Free Software for free. 
Or at least that's what they _think_ they're doing.  Just between us
girls...they're actually doing something they don't even realize:
they're reproducing and copying the greatest Free Software work of all,
the GPL itself.  And they're doing it for free--at least in a beer
sense.  You see, the whole purpose of Free Software is to create
attractive hosts which will allow the GPL to reproduce itself. 
(Marketing, Benjamin--marketing.)

Whatever you do, don't conduct the following experiment.  Don't convince
a friend to buy you a free beer at your favorite pub.  Then, when it's
delivered, don't demand that you also be given the recipe before you
drink it.  Then, when your friend complains, perplexed at the fact that
you aren't happy with just the beer, you also need its *recipe* for some
silly reason, don't tell him, "Think 'free speech', not 'free beer'". 
Because I don't think he'll buy that.



Grant R. Griffin                                       g2 at
Publisher of dspGuru                 
Iowegian International Corporation  

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