Semantic troubles with the word "free" [Was: My only complaint about Python]

Miklós nospam at
Sat Aug 21 13:16:35 CEST 2004

"Jeff Shannon" <jeff at> wrote in message
news:10icl8fn39skq3e at
> 510046470588-0001 at wrote:
> >flab ba <flab at> writes:
> >
> >all humbug. Visual C++ is nowhere near free, it's all proprietary.
> That's free-as-in-beer, not Free-as-in-speech.
> It's a shame that, at least in English, the most natural word to use for
> each of these two different concepts just happens to be the same word.
> But such is the case.  (I don't think it's practical to try to convince
> everyone, worldwide, to refer to it as 'gratis' and 'liberte'...)  And
> given that it *is* the case, it would be much more pleasant if people
> could use the word for both of its meanings without being criticized by
> people who are philosophically devoted to only one of those meanings.

It makes me smile that  you keep getting into such semantic troubles unless
you express yourself in such a roundabout way.
I think it would be a really wise thing to always use the word 'gratis'  for

Btw, my native language (Hungarian) avoids another serious semantic
booby-trap in English, with the ambigous word "love"...  But at least in
this rarely makes confusion. ;)


> Jeff Shannon
> Technician/Programmer
> Credit International

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