The Modernization of Emacs: terminology buffer and keybinding

lhb at nowhere.com lhb at nowhere.com
Sun Oct 7 15:07:16 CEST 2007


Wildemar Wildenburger <lasses_weil at klapptsowieso.net> wrote in 
news:47016899$0$4524$9b4e6d93 at newsspool3.arcor-online.net:

> While I agree that the word "free" implies "free of monetary cost" to 
> many people societies, that is by no means set in stone (talk to native 
> americans, blacks, jews, palestinians, etc. about the word free, see 
> what they have to say).

Words are defined by popular usage.  In popular usage, the meaning of free 
as an adjective depends on the context.  If the adjective is applied to 
people, it means the opposite of slavery or imprisonment.  If it's applied 
to something other than people, it means free as in beer.

For example, a dog with no owner, wandering freely (adverb), would not be 
called a free dog (adjective), to mean possessing freedom.  Free dog means 
free as in beer.  Likewise, in popular usage, free software means free as 
in beer.  People who use it with a different meaning are vainly trying to 
change its meaning.  But the meanings of words can't be arbitrarily 
changed, just by dictating different meanings.  The meaning has to be 
adopted by popular usage, which free-as-in-GPL software has not been.

Therefore, I propose, using dog freedom as our logic, we call it stray 
software.



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