Freeware Python editor

Paul Winkler slinkp23 at
Wed Oct 31 18:01:39 CET 2001

On Wed, 31 Oct 2001 08:17:14 -0800, Erik Max Francis <max at> wrote:
>"Freeware" has a well-defined meaning that predates open source
>initiatives.  The sense it was used in this case was correct, so
>complaints about _free_ not being defined the way _you_ prefer it are

That is my understanding of the currently accepted meaning of the term
"freeware", but I'm curious about the historical precedence you
suggest. Open Source is a recently coined term (1998), but as the
Jargon File says (in the "free software" entry): "Free software has
existed since the dawn of computing; Free Software as a movement began
in 1984 with the GNU Project."  I thought that "freeware" was somewhat
ambiguous until the "Free Software" camp started complaining about it;
previously, "freeware" could be used both in its current sense (free
beer, no source) and in the Free Software sense (maybe free beer,
definitely open source).

But this was before my time. Can anyone who was hacking in the 70s/80s
comment on the evolution of these terms? When did "freeware" come to
mean "free beer, no source"?

--Paul Winkler

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