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The Free Beer Economy
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| Why is FREE! the world's best-selling noun, verb, adjective and adverb, yet
| so hard to credit as a foundation for business in the Internet Age? And what
| will happen when business folk finally grok the abundant opportunities that
| FREE! provides?
| Dictionary.com lists 49 meanings for the word free. Here in the World of
| Linux, there are two main ones: 1) the presence of liberty, 2) the absence of
| price. Or, as Richard M. Stallman drew the distinction, free-as-in-freedom
| and free-as-in-beer. Both kinds contributed enormously to the development not
| only of free and open source code, but to the Internet — the place where
| most of that code was written and on which most of it runs.
Open source apps are no small free beer
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| Richard Stallman once wrote that the point about free software is it is "free
| as in freedom, not free as in beer", meaning that people should be at liberty
| to do as they pleased with software, rather than subscribe to its restrictive
| licences. As the recession takes hold, the stress may be on the second half
| of his now-famous aphorism. To the millions downloading free software in a
| recession, the point is that it is free – as in free beer.
| Since Stallman first made his rallying cry as the founder of the free
| software movement in the 1980s, the way that software has been developed and
| distributed has been transformed. There cannot be a corner of the
| industrialised world that doesn't rely on some form of free software. But
| free software, and the open source movement it inspired, has so far affected
| mostly the back-end world of servers and databases, or taken over from
| software, like the web browser, that was already available at zero cost.
They link to the Microsoft shill (former employees) who cooked a 'study'.
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