Alright, so English is one confusing language, and moreover it’s very badly used. And ‘free’ tops the list. Latin seems somewhat better, since people use Latin words to differentiate between the various meanings of ‘free’. With lot of free things floating around the web, its good to know what ‘free’ actually means. So, there is :
Free as in “free beer”.
This is similar to the Latin word gratis, or in more descriptive English, free of monetary cost.
Like free beer at a party. You have the permission to use the object (drink the beer) without any payment, but you do not have rights to the beer or ownership of it. You can’t bring it home, etc.
Free as in “free speech”.
This is similar to the Latin word libre or in more descriptive English, free of restrictions.
Like free speech, you can use the object, reproduce it, re-purpose it, and generally do whatever you want with it. One possible restriction is that you might need to credit the source of the object.
OK. So here the most confusing thing of all.
The Free Beer, is free like Free Speech!!