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There's Free Software and Free Software

This always brings up and interesting debate.  Do you have non-opensource software on your opensource operating system, beit Linux, BSD or whatever?

At work, we picked up a new web software development package that we hadn't used before.  In the training, I tested my browser not only in Firefox, but in IE and Opera as well, as I wanted to make sure my applications were the msot compatible.  I found some bugs in Opera that I was willing to work with.

I brought up the Opera bugs to other employees in the training, and I was ridiculed that I was using Opera.  I had some fun with them, then got a little serious about using the browser.  One employee, a friend of mine and former Free Software and Linux Club president, said he won't use non-free software.  I reminded him that it is free, and available for download from the Opera site.  He then clarified, saying he won't use it, because it is not opensource.  He only uses opensource software.  It was then that I learned he is a heavy Richard Stallman/GNU advocate.  I mean strong, as in religiously, cultishly strong.

At first, I was taken back.  Not offended, but puzzled.  Why would someone not use free software- free as in beer?  Why would you only stick to free as in freedom software?  At this point, I still don't know.  I see the standpoint of strengthening community, and making other software vendors consider opensourcing their software, but why not use free closed-source software?

Is it a matter of ethics?  Values?  Morals?

This friend of mine is also very political, and holds the standpoint of enforcing social liberties instead of civil liberties.  Many of his views and political stances are aligned with the Dali Lama.  Open community, voice of the people, etc.  So, it makes sense that his technology views are the same.  But the question still plagues me.  Maybe if he reads my blog, he can answer in the comments.

Why not use free as in beer and not free as in freedom software?

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