In response to

“free-as-in-speech” vs. "free-as-in-beer”

I originally posted this on unix.stackexchange but it was closed and deleted.


I'm wondering why that is?

Any feedbacks on this topic from anyone?

From: Richard Stallman
Date: Fri, Oct 22, 2010 at 9:12 AM
Subject: Re: “free-as-in-speech” vs. "free-as-in-beer”

QN: I would like to know the exact meaning of "free-as-in-speech" and "free-as-in-beer" It is hard to give "exact" meanings for philosophical concepts, so I am a bit lost.

The English word "free" has two different meanings. Many other languages have different words for them. For instance, I think Hindi has "mukt" for "free as in freedom" and "muft" for "gratis, zero price'.

QN: Also why this example words (the words free-as-in-speech and free-as-in-beer) are being used to descibe the concept?

Those are not the words I use. I use "free as in 'free speech'" and "free as in 'free beer'". Is that clearer?

It seems you heard someone else shorten the two phrases a little.

-- Richard Stallman
President, Free Software Foundation
51 Franklin St
Boston MA 02110 USA
www.fsf.org, www.gnu.org

2 Answers 2


You got 2 answers to your question which explained all details.

After that you got answers to the comments you made.

Now you got a 3rd (!) answer from Richard Stallman (!) himself.

There is a lot of material about this "outside" easy to find with google.

If you want to "discuss" this topic, go ahead but maybe a Q/A Board is not really the right place for that.


//edit: didn't saw your edit. Your "question" is closed because it isn't a real question, see the FAQ. After that you posted the answer to your orginial question. Thanks for that. You also got upvotes for the question and your answer. What more?

  • YES.I really want to discuss this topic and i need to get the concept thoroughly.
    – Renjith G
    Oct 22, 2010 at 20:12
  • 1
    Ok, but whats your question? what don't you get and what do you want to discuss?
    – echox
    Oct 22, 2010 at 20:14
  • What is the exact meaning of "free as in "free speech" "? Is it possible to do free speech on any thing at anywhere ?
    – Renjith G
    Oct 22, 2010 at 20:30
  • 3
    you accepted your posting here: unix.stackexchange.com/questions/3289/… so everybody will think your question is answered. Beside that, you got answers to this question. What exactly didn't you understand on Richards answer? Anyway, Meta seems not the right place to discuss this. You should remove the "accepted" tag on your answer and be more specific with your question there. Tell us exactly what parts of the answer you don't get.
    – echox
    Oct 22, 2010 at 20:39
  • Yes. Richards answer is not clear to me.
    – Renjith G
    Oct 22, 2010 at 20:48

Sorry, I left a comment on your question before I deleted it; I thought comments went through even if the question was deleted, but I guess not:

I'm going to delete this since it was posted as an answer now – Michael Mrozek♦ 7 hours ago

I assumed since you posted it as an answer on your question that meant it was a good explanation; the second question you posted didn't contain any questions, you just pasted rms' reply. echox is right; the accepted answer and the self-answer both made it seem like the question was solved, and now that you unaccepted hopefully you can get some clarification on your original question

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