Sunday, September 30, 2007

Open-Licensed / Closed-Licensed

In the last post I used the terms Open-Licensed and Closed Licensed. I've also in the past used the terms gratis and non-gratis software. Why is that?

Well, the primary reason is the confusion surrounding Free Software. Free can have several meanings. It can mean Free as in Freedom. You can do what you want. Or it can mean free as in price, such as somebody tossing you a beer at a ballpark that you didn't pay for.

So, I decided to avoid the term Free Software and clarify the intent.

Open-Licensed software is software that is under an Open-Source license. The source code is available to look at and examine.

Closed-Licensed software is software that is under a proprietary license and the source code is not available.

Gratis-software is software that comes without a cost. You don't use your wallet to pay for gratis-software.

Non-gratis software is software that comes with a price tag. You have to pay to use the software.

Just because software is non-gratis does not mean that is not Open-Licensed. For example, the GPLv2 allows for software to have the source code available, but users must pay in order to get the software.

Now, I realize that trying to get other writers to stop using the term Free software is probably as pointless as asking Microsoft to release WinNT5 under GLPv2. It just ain't going to happen.

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