June 21, 2001
Paying the price for Free Software
Author: JT Smith
Kelly McNeill writes "Many open source advocates release code under one of the "free as in beer" licenses that allow anyone to use it in any way they want. My cousin can use it to surf the Web or build a Web site, the 2600 club in town can use it to write new device drivers and crypto algorithms, and Microsoft can use it to quickly Internet-enable its new 32-bit operating system. But Microsoft's latest archenemy is the GNU General Public License (GPL). Some say the GPL is communist, some say it is complete and unfettered freedom. I will say the thing that many free software advocates know, but are afraid to say aloud: It's not free as in beer. To use GPL software, you must pay the price."