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The
English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventually become the World language, leading lan ...

English
adjective ''free'' is commonly used in one of two meanings: "at no monetary cost" (''gratis'') and "with little or no restriction" (''libre''). This ambiguity of ''free'' can cause issues where the distinction is important, as it often is in dealing with laws concerning the use of information, such as
copyright Copyright is a type of intellectual property Intellectual property (IP) is a category of property Property is a system of rights that gives people legal control of valuable things, and also refers to the valuable things themselves. ...

copyright
and
patent A patent is a type of intellectual property Intellectual property (IP) is a category of property Property is a system of rights that gives people legal control of valuable things, and also refers to the valuable things themselves. Depe ...

patent
s. The terms ''gratis'' and ''libre'' may be used to categorise
intellectual property Intellectual property (IP) is a category of property Property is a system of rights that gives people legal control of valuable things, and also refers to the valuable things themselves. Depending on the nature of the property, an owner o ...
, particularly
computer program In imperative programming, a computer program is a sequence of instructions in a programming language that a computer can execute or interpret. In declarative programming, a ''computer program'' is a Set (mathematics), set of instructions. A comp ...
s, according to the
license A license (American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of variety (linguistics), varieties of the English language native to the United States. Cur ...

license
s and legal restrictions that cover them, in the free software and open source communities, as well as the broader
free culture movement The free-culture movement is a social movement Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting populations. This interaction is considered social whether they are aware of it or not, and whether the exchange is Volition (psy ...
. For example, they are used to distinguish
freeware Freeware is software Software is a collection of Instruction (computer science), instructions that tell a computer how to work. This is in contrast to Computer hardware, hardware, from which the system is built and actually performs the work ...

freeware
(
software Software is a collection of instructions Instruction or instructions may refer to: Computing * Instruction, one operation of a processor within a computer architecture instruction set * Computer program, a collection of instructions Music * I ...

software
''gratis'') from
free software Free software (or libre software) is computer software distributed under terms that allow users to run the software for any purpose as well as to study, change, and distribute it and any adapted versions. Free software is a matter of liberty ...

free software
(software ''libre'').
Richard Stallman Richard Matthew Stallman (; born March 16, 1953), also known by his initials, rms, is an American free software movement The free software movement is a social movement A social movement is a loosely organized effort by a large group of peo ...

Richard Stallman
summarised the difference in a slogan: "Think free as in free speech, not free beer."


''Gratis''

''Gratis'' in English is adopted from the various
Romance Romance (from Vulgar Latin , "in the Roman language", i.e., "Latin") may refer to: Common meanings * Romance (love) Romance or Romantic love is an emotional feeling of love for, or a strong attraction towards another person, and the Court ...

Romance
and
Germanic languages The Germanic languages are a branch of the Indo-European The Indo-European languages are a language family native to western and southern Eurasia. It comprises most of the languages of Europe together with those of the northern Indian su ...

Germanic languages
, ultimately descending from the plural
ablative In grammar In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, ...

ablative
and
dative In grammar In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as we ...
form of the first-
declension In linguistics, declension is the changing of the form of a word, generally to express its syntactic function in the sentence, by way of some inflection. The inflectional change of verbs is called Grammatical conjugation, conjugation. Declensions ...
noun A noun () is a word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phonemes that can be uttered in isolation with semantic, objective or pragmatics, practical meaning (linguistics), meaning. In many l ...

noun
''grātia'' in
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became ...

Latin
. It means "free" in the sense that some goods or service is supplied without need for payment, even though it may have value.


''Libre''

''Libre'' in English is adopted from the various Romance languages, ultimately descending from the Latin word ''līber''; its origin is closely related to ''
liberty Broadly speaking, liberty is the ability to do as one pleases, or a right or immunity enjoyed by prescription or by grant (i.e. privilege). It is a synonym for the word freedom Freedom, generally, is having the ability to act or change withou ...

liberty
''. It denotes "the state of being free", as in "liberty" or "having freedom". The ''
Oxford English Dictionary The ''Oxford English Dictionary'' (''OED'') is the principal historical dictionary A historical dictionary or dictionary on historical principles is a dictionary which deals not only with the latterday meanings of words but also the historica ...
'' (OED) considers ''libre'' to be obsolete, but the word has come back into limited use. Unlike ''
gratis Gratis may refer to: * Gratis, Ohio, a village in Preble County, US * Gratis Township, Preble County, Ohio, US * Gratis Internet, a US referral marketing company * Free, meaning without charge. See Gratis versus libre See also

* Free (disambig ...
'', ''
libre Libre may refer to: Computing * Libre software, free software * Libre Computer Project, developer of open-hardware single-board computers Music * Libre (Alejandra Guzmán album), ''Libre'' (Alejandra Guzmán album) * Libre (Jennifer Peña album), ...
'' appears in few English dictionaries, although there is no other English single-word adjective signifying "liberty" exclusively, without also meaning "at no monetary cost".


"Free beer" and "freedom of speech" distinction

In software development, where the
marginal cost In economics Economics () is the social science that studies how people interact with value; in particular, the Production (economics), production, distribution (economics), distribution, and Consumption (economics), consumption of goods a ...

marginal cost
of an additional unit is zero, it is common for developers to make software available at no cost. One of the early and basic forms of this model is called
freeware Freeware is software Software is a collection of Instruction (computer science), instructions that tell a computer how to work. This is in contrast to Computer hardware, hardware, from which the system is built and actually performs the work ...

freeware
. With freeware, software is licensed freely for regular use: the developer does not gain any monetary compensation. With the advent of the
free software Free software (or libre software) is computer software distributed under terms that allow users to run the software for any purpose as well as to study, change, and distribute it and any adapted versions. Free software is a matter of liberty ...

free software
movement, license schemes were created to give developers more freedom in terms of code sharing, commonly called
open source Open source is source code that is made freely available for possible modification and redistribution. Products include permission to use the source code, design documents, or content of the product. The open-source model is a decentralized softwa ...
or
free and open-source software Free and open-source software (FOSS) is software Software is a collection of instructions that tell a computer A computer is a machine that can be programmed to carry out sequences of arithmetic or logical operations automatically. ...
(called FLOSS, FOSS, or F/OSS). As the English adjective ''free'' does not distinguish between "for free" and "liberty", the phrases "free as in freedom of speech" (''libre'', free software) and "free as in free beer" (''gratis'', freeware) were adopted. Many in the free software movement feel strongly about the ''freedom'' to use the software, make modifications, etc., whether or not this freely usable software is to be exchanged for money. Therefore, this distinction became important. These phrases have become common, along with ''gratis'' and ''libre'', in the software development and computer law fields for encapsulating this distinction. The distinction is similar to the distinction made in
political science Political science is the scientific study of politics Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions In psychology, decision-making (also spelled decision making and decisionmaking) is regarded as ...
between
positive liberty Positive liberty is the possession of the capacity to act upon one's free will, as opposed to negative liberty, which is freedom from external restraint on one's actions.Berlin, Isaiah. ''Four Essays on Liberty''. 1969. A concept of positive libert ...
and
negative liberty Negative liberty is freedom from interference by other people. Negative liberty is primarily concerned with freedom from external restraint and contrasts with positive liberty Positive liberty is the possession of the capacity to act upon one's ...
. Like "free beer", positive liberty promises equal access by all without cost or regard to income, of a given good (assuming the good exists). Like "free speech", negative liberty safeguards the right to use of something (in this case, speech) without regard to whether in a given case there is a cost involved for this use. A comparison may be drawn between the ''gratis/libre'' distinction and
Newspeak Newspeak is the fictional language of Oceania Oceania (, , ) is a geographic region that includes Australasia, Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia. Spanning the Eastern and Western Hemispheres, Oceania has a land area of and a popu ...
, a
constructed language A constructed language (sometimes called a conlang) is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation with") is "an apparent answer to ...
featured in the book ''
Nineteen Eighty-Four ''Nineteen Eighty-Four'' (also stylised as ''1984'') is a dystopian social science fiction novel and cautionary tale written by English writer George Orwell. It was published on 8 June 1949 by Secker & Warburg as Orwell's ninth and final boo ...
''. Although the word ''free'' exists in Newspeak, it can only be used to communicate the absence of something, e.g. "The dog is free from lice" or "This field is free of weeds". The word cannot denote
free will Free will is the capacity of agents to choose between different possible courses of action ACTION is a bus operator in , Australia owned by the . History On 19 July 1926, the commenced operating public bus services between Eastlake ( ...

free will
, because Newspeak is engineered to eliminate its possibility in the minds of its speakers. Thus, Newspeak may be construed as eliminating the ''libre'' sense of the word "free," while keeping its ''gratis'' sense.


Uses in open-access academic publishing

In order to reflect real-world differences in the degree of open access, the distinction between gratis open access and libre open access was added in 2006 by
Peter Suber Peter Dain Suber (born November 8, 1951) is a philosopher specializing in the philosophy of law and open access to knowledge. He is a Senior Researcher at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society, Director of the Harvard Office for Scholarly ...

Peter Suber
and
Stevan Harnad Stevan Robert Harnad (Hernád István Róbert, Hesslein István, born June 2, 1945, Budapest) is a Hungarian-born cognitive scientist Cognitive science is the interdisciplinary, scientific Science (from the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a c ...

Stevan Harnad
, two of the co-drafters of the original
Budapest Open Access Initiative The Budapest Open Access Initiative (BOAI) is a public statement of principles relating to open access to the Scientific literature, research literature, which was released to the public February 14, 2002. It arose from a conference convened in Bud ...
definition of open access publishing.Suber, Peter. 200
"Gratis and Libre Open Access"
Retrieved on 2011-12-03.
Gratis open access refers to online access free of charge (which Wikipedia indicates with the icon ), and libre open access refers to online access free of charge plus some additional re-use rights (Wikipedia icon ). Libre open access is equivalent to the definition of open access in the Budapest Open Access Initiative, the
Bethesda Statement on Open Access Publishing The Bethesda Statement on Open Access Publishing is a 2003 statement which defines the concept of open access Open access (OA) is a set of principles and a range of practices through which outputs are distributed online, free of cost or other ...
and the
Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and HumanitiesThe Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities is an international statement on open access Open access (OA) is a set of principles and a range of practices through which research outputs are distributed online ...
. The re-use rights of libre OA are often specified by various specific
Creative Commons license A Creative Commons (CC) license is one of several public copyright license A public license or public copyright licenses is a license by which a copyright holder as licensor can grant additional copyright permissions to any and all person ...
s; these almost all require attribution of authorship to the original authors.


Comparison with use in software

The original gratis/libre distinction concerns software (i.e., code), with which users can potentially do two kinds of things: 1. access and use it; and 2. modify and re-use it. "Gratis" pertains to being to access and use the code, without a price-barrier, while "libre" pertains to being to modify and re-use the code, without a permission barrier. The target content of the
open access Open access (OA) is a set of principles and a range of practices through which research Research is "creative and systematic work undertaken to increase the stock of knowledge". It involves the collection, organization and analysis o ...

open access
movement, however, is not software but published,
peer-reviewed Peer review is the evaluation of work by one or more people with similar competencies as the producers of the work ( peers). It functions as a form of self-regulation by qualified members of a profession within the relevant field Field may re ...
research journal article texts. 1. Source code accessibility and use. For published research articles, the case for making their text accessible free for all online (Gratis) is even stronger than it is for software code, because in the case of software, some developers may wish to give their code away for free, while others may wish to sell it, whereas in the case of published research article texts, ''all'' their authors, without exception, give them away for free: None seek or get royalties or fees from their sale. On the contrary, any access-denial to potential users means loss of potential research impact ( downloads, citations) for the author's research—and researcher-authors' employment, salary, promotion and funding depends in part on the uptake and impact of their research. 2. Source code modifiability and re-use. For published research articles, the case for allowing text modification and re-use is much weaker than for software code, because, unlike software, the ''text'' of a research article is not intended for modification and re-use. (In contrast, the ''content'' of research articles is and always was intended for modification and re-use: that is how research progresses.) There are no copyright barriers to modifying, developing, building upon and re-using an author's ideas and findings, once they have been published, as long as the author and published source are credited—but modifications to the published text are another matter. Apart from verbatim
quotation A quotation is the repetition of a sentence, phrase, or passage from speech or text that someone has said or written. In oral speech, it is the representation of an utterance (i.e. of something that a speaker actually said) that is introduced by a ...

quotation
, scholarly/scientific authors are not in general interested in allowing other authors to create " mashups" of their texts. Researcher-authors are all happy to make their texts available for
harvesting Harvesting is the process of gathering a ripe crop from the field (agriculture), fields. Reaping is the cutting of grain or pulse (legume), pulse for harvest, typically using a scythe, sickle, or reaper. On smaller farms with minimal mechan ...
and indexing for
search Searching or search may refer to: Computing technology * Search algorithm In computer science, a search algorithm is an algorithm (typically involving a multitude of other, more specific algorithms ) which solves a search problem. Search al ...
as well as data-mining, but not for re-use in altered form (without the permission of the author). The formal
analogy Analogy (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximate ...

analogy
between open software and open access has been made, (2008
Gratis and libre open access
''SPARC Open Access Newsletter'', August 2, 2008
along with the generalization of the gratis/libre distinction from the one field to the other.


See also

*
Alternative terms for free software Alternative terms for free software Free software (or libre software) is computer software Software is a collection of Instruction (computer science), instructions and data (computing), data that tell a computer how to work. This is in c ...
*
Comparison of free and open-source software licenses This is a comparison of free and open-source software licences. The comparison only covers software licences with a linked article for details, approved by at least one expert group at the FSF, the OSI, the Debian project or the Fedora project. ...
*
Free Beer Free Beer sale on the Isummit 2008 Sapporo, Japan illustrates ''"Free as in Freedom, not free as in free beer"'': recipe and label under CC-BY-SA ("Free as in freedom") but not Gratis versus libre">gratis Gratis may refer to: * Gratis, Ohio, ...

Free Beer
(free as freedom, not gratis) *
Free software movement The free software movement is a social movement A social movement is a loosely organized effort by a large group of people to achieve a particular goal, typically a social Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting popu ...
*
Gift economy A gift economy or gift culture is a mode of exchange where Anthropological theories of value, valuables are not sold, but rather given without an explicit agreement for immediate or future rewards. Social norms and customs govern giving a gift i ...
*
Open content Free content, libre content, or free information is any kind of functional work, work of art, or other creative Content (media and publishing), content that meets the definition of a Definition of Free Cultural Works, free cultural work. De ...

Open content
*
Open-source license An open-source license is a type of License compatibility, license for computer software and other products that allows the source code, blueprint or design to be used, modified and/or shared under defined terms and conditions. This allows end user ...
*
There ain't no such thing as a free lunch "There ain't no such thing as a free lunch" (alternatively, "There is no such thing as a free lunch" or other variants) is a popular adage An adage (; Latin: adagium) is a concise, memorable, and usually philosophical aphorism that communic ...


Explanatory notes


Citations


General sources

* ''Free as in Speech and Beer'', book by Darren Wershler-Henry
Stallman's discussion of FreeAsInBeer


External links

* * * * {{FOSS English phrases Free software culture and documents Free software