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Re: [board-discuss] 'Free Beer' Office?

I'm still getting a little annoyed by the 'free beer' matter. The whole problem starts with different conceptualizations (contexts) how they term free is used. Free beer is used in context of the four freedoms in context of software development not to be confused with

From the free software paradigm/philosophy as defined on ( is open source not equivalent use with being free of charge. However this not universal conception. Free can be equivalent for gratis in day to day use.

And there even software developers who distribute their program intentionally for free in the sense of being free of charge (without expecting something in return) Or all the different models where software tends to be free, with a catch somewhere. Firefox search preferences. Add financed software. Software bundles. Software with nag screens. Software free to use with watermarks.

Another point is what to archive by saying LibreOffice isn't free as in "free beer".
What do you expect from non-commerical user? What should they do?
Even in they context of commercial party's. LibreOffice is free of charge. And the license doesn't prohibit anything What do you expect them?

The core issue is that eco-system partners are spending money on development (code); which they are sharing with the world for free.
They code gets compiled and distributed for free by TDF.

They idea seems to be about everybody contributing their fair share.
And there is quite some theory about that. In the area for governments finances. More specific taxes. You pay taxes to finance "common interest", but show it's a tendency get around those. They idea behind taxes letting everybody pay their fair share. Ideally voluntary, but show this doesn't work well. So mostly with 'force'. Fines etc. And people do acknowledge government services, but at the point of paying.. They government is taking away your hard earned money with those taxes. And if other people dodge taxes big time, they they smaller fish doing they same thing.  Of course a governments far bigger compared a software vendor, so you know a bit better how your share is used.

They idea/ideal/vision is that non-commercial and commercial contribute, but spending a part of their license savings on they Office Suite being spend on LibreOffice and/or taking services from company's involved. They reality is that LibreOffice is used for maximum cost cutting (or something like that) or less pessimistic, aren't aware of those services.

And this whole dilemma isn't unique. Wikipedia is from perspective of the user free. And from perspective of the founders perceived as giving away 'free beer' They whole service costs a lot of money. It has to come from somewhere. They don't deliver ad's as most sites do (out of principle). Quite noble. However a way of making your living very hard; but they are different at the same time. And those who donate (minority) might fee they are sponsoring the free riders. So refrain from donating too. Of course not good reason, but ..

"Libre"and "Free" are loaded terms; everybody reads them in they way the see fit (if they context is lacking). Free as reference to Developer ethics (so free to use the code). Free from Vendor Lock-in. Free of charge.  Free source code; free to redistribute; Free from American company's. Free from back-doors. Free of bugs? free of software limitations. free of ads; Free of bundled software. However not free of commercial interest

I think more should be done about communicating the philosophy of LibreOffice (or Open Source in general). Create a story/narrative. Should and little less about the product/ software as such. Bit more about how it's made and what the principles are. Where does LibreOffice stand for; believe in? LibreOffice is build on the idea of working together (team effort)/ sharing idea's, code, knowledge/ openness. It's about showing how a program works, about learning to code (or design). To create a better product in collaboration. It's about contributing. It's about working together all of the world. It's about Personal control, customizability. It's a society/club (German: Verband: Creating an development eco-system being less capitalistic driven. To improve and involve together, instead dictated functionality by a major firm. Making Office Suite accessible for everyone at low costs or no costs. But also what it's not. LibreOffice is not a charity or based on (pure) altruism.

Above is only pointers for a philosophy/ ideals which should be communicated. The webpages should also contain some explanation about they multiple ways Free & Libre can be interpreted and how TDF interprets them. Libre is by some people interpreted as 'gratis'. While at GNU they state "We sometimes call it “libre software,” borrowing the French or Spanish word for “free” as in freedom, to show we do not mean the software is gratis."

So please communicate this properly. You can't expect people to know what is meant. Everybody interprets it from their context (as long as the text is lacking context). So free can be interpreted as equivalent for gratis, without those people being 'wrong'. Even that's not the message you want to send. Communicating is not that easy

LibreOffice being free of charge is an result of  the philosophy/ideals. It's not something needing extra attention or emphasis. It's merely a fact; at state of being. It's not they mission of TDF/LibreOffice.  Not the point. It's mere an expression of they philosophy. Else - by promoting free - you end up in the area of charity/ altruism. And LibreOffice isn't about that (based on So 'for free' 'free of charge' shouldn't key words. LibreOffice is a free product; what does this mean? Read here.. Make bit more of mystery. You want people to read the whole story. Instead clicking download after reading "Free of Charge". I'm maybe overstating they effect, but it's al least an attempt to 'spread the word'. Or some would say 'educate people'. However has a negative connotation for me. Learning someone a lesson. Or they enlightened people (patricians) versus they plebs. It sounds bit of forcing an idea/vision  on to people. You need to persuade/convince people. You maybe still educating them, I know. However sounds nicer.

You need to create a story around LibreOffice; mission, vision, goals. Making interest/vivid to read. Not something like this Of course you may point to it, and they topic should be addressed in someway. But make it more attractive. I found they whole map thing: quite insightful. About where software is developed/ licensed. And no don't dump a link of youtube on they page or link to they slides. But write it out in blog posts.

However that's more a formal/legal description. Like say a Journalist/Marketing; not a lawyer . Where do you stand for. What do you want to archive. What do you want to convey. As F(L)OSS in general and LibreOffice in specific. This is part of the business plan/ marketing plan/ marketing communication plan from TDF.  The ideals should be compatible with they vision of the eco-system partners

So not something sleepy to read like this: How abstract and dead can you make it. Where is the enthusiasm/ pride. Really interested how they -  at Ubuntu - would define say they mission of say a local football club. If they would write it like this, would you become a member? It read a bit like technical manual/ specification sheet. A prefer more they Apple product story telling.  Vivaldi community/ about communication is already a lot better.


Op 27-7-2020 om 10:02 schreef Mike Saunders:
Hi Andreas,

On 25/07/2020 09:58, Andreas Mantke wrote:
for those who complains about LibreOffice campains stating free (like
free beer), here is a current example from the official LibreOffice account:
This is actually an image from an older campaign, before we started to
reduce usage of the word "free". The reason I reused the image there was
because there was a flurry of tweets around Microsoft's subscription
models, and people asking about alternatives. So I quickly dug out that

In general, I have cut back on promoting the "free as in beer" messaging
on social media. Still, it can be very useful for some targeted
messaging, such as showing OpenOffice users that there's a much more
up-to-date alternative. I tried doing this without any mention of
"free", but kept getting the same response: "Yeah, but is LibreOffice
free like OpenOffice"?

And, of course, "office software available for use by anyone free of
charge" is part of our statutes.

But I agree that constantly emphasising the "free as in beer" part is
counter-productive to the project as a whole. I spend more time now
engaging in discussions to highlight that the software isn't made for
free, and focusing on LO in terms of the community rather than just the
end-result product.


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