[GRASS5] Terminology: Free Software

Roger Bivand Roger.Bivand at nhh.no
Wed Oct 10 06:06:09 EDT 2001

On Wed, 10 Oct 2001, Bernhard Reiter wrote:

> Realising that I have started the debate,
> I also think that was necessary to bring the issue up.
> Hopefully we can keep it at a low temperature.
> On Tue, Oct 09, 2001 at 10:28:56AM -0600, Roger Miller wrote:
> > On Tue, 9 Oct 2001, Bernhard Reiter wrote:
> > Like Helena, I prefer to continue calling it Open Source software.  
> Let me add that we should not invent other terms or try to introduce them.
> It has been done a couple of times and the result was:
> You had to explain much more and other possible missunderstandings
> popped up.
> > My main problem is that "free" software isn't free, and can -- at least in
> > the short run -- be more expensive than commercial software.  I find that
> > its far easier to explain what "open source" means then it is to explain
> > the high cost of "free" software.
> You understand that "free" in Free Software relates to Freedom.
> If you are talking something like "Total cost of ownership"
> it is of course a long debate.
> For some pointers to study results:

A further point of some weight is that GRASS moved from an
"unconstrained" license as of 4.2 (often no license?) to GPL as of 4.3 and
5.*. As I read the GPL, it seems more natural to use the term used there,
despite the difficulties this may engender (we are using LGPL on some
parts of the code, aren't we - there the constraints are fewer). GPL is
actually quite constraining, and with reason. So a formal description is:

"The Geographic Resources Analysis and Support System (GRASS)
Geographic Information System (GIS) is Copyright by the
GRASS Development Team headquartered at Baylor University,
in Waco, Texas.

This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it
under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the
Free Software Foundation; either version 2 of the License, or (at your
option) any later version."

as in ./COPYING


Roger Bivand
Economic Geography Section, Department of Economics, Norwegian School of
Economics and Business Administration, Breiviksveien 40, N-5045 Bergen,
Norway. voice: +47 55 95 93 55; fax +47 55 95 93 93
e-mail: Roger.Bivand at nhh.no
and: Department of Geography and Regional Development, University of
Gdansk, al. Mar. J. Pilsudskiego 46, PL-81 378 Gdynia, Poland.

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