Gratis versus Libre

Gratis versus Libre

"Gratis" versus "libre" is the distinction between "for zero price" ("gratis") and "freedom" ("libre"). ' appears in many English dictionaries, including the "Oxford English Dictionary". However, ' does so less commonly, and no English adjective signifies "liberty" exclusively and as distinct from "at no monetary cost". This distinction is often important in dealing with laws concerning the use of information, such as copyright and patents. The terms are often used in the free software and open source communities, as well as the broader free culture movement, to categorize computer programs according to the licenses and legal restrictions that cover them. Both this expression and the term "gratis" are used to distinguish freeware ("gratis" software) from free ("libre") software.


"Gratis" is the plural ablative and dative form of the first-declension noun "grātia" in Latin and used as an adjective in various Romance and Germanic languages (for example, Italian, Spanish, German and Swedish) meaning "for free", "free of charge", "at zero cost", in the sense that one does not have to pay for some good or service, even though the good or service may have value.


"Libre" IPAlink|lɪbrə is a word in various Romance languages, including Spanish and French, and descends from the Latin word "līber"; they denote "the state of being free", as in "having freedom" or "liberty".

"Free as in beer", "free as in speech"

As the word "free" in English does not distinguish between "gratis" and "libre", members of the free software community draw a distinction between "free" as in "free speech" ("libre") and "free" as in "free beer" ("gratis"). By "free software", they mean "libre". The phrases "free as in beer" and "free as in speech" have become common catchphrases, along with "libre" and "gratis", in the software development and computer law fields for encapsulating the distinction.

ee also

*Alternative terms for free software


* [ "Free, as in Beer"] by Lawrence Lessig, "Wired"
* [ "Free as in Speech and Beer"] , book by Darren Wershler-Henry
* [ "Say 'Libre' "] , and [ related discussion] regarding knowledge and learning resources.
* [ Stallman's discussion of FreeAsInBeer]
* [,1367,68144,00.html "Wired" on the first open source beer]

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