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Welcome to the official blog of Uncle Ming's Gallery

I have always been among those who believed that the greatest freedom of speech was the greatest safety, because if a man is a fool the best thing to do is to encourage him to advertise the fact by speaking. (我以為讓愚蠢的人自暴其醜, 正是最大之言論自由所以是最安全的主因)


非官方發佈資料 Unofficial Release

Introduction to Freeware自 由軟體簡介


Emergence of Freeware:

"There is no such thing as free lunch" ( by Milton Friedman, Nobel Prize (Economics) Winner).

However, since the  internet emerged, a tremendous number of FREEWARE and free stuffs have been put on the net. They are legally obtainable at no charges. Obviously, someone have changed the world in a way that people could hardly imagine in the past.  What they have done does really inspire  us to re-examine our previous believe from time to time.

Definition of Freeware:

"Free software is a matter of the users' freedom to run, copy, distribute, study, change and improve the software. More precisely, it refers to four kinds of freedom, for the users of the software:

    * The freedom to run the program, for any purpose (freedom 0).
    * The freedom to study how the program works, and adapt it to your needs (freedom 1). Access to the source code is a precondition for this.
    * The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor (freedom 2).
    * The freedom to improve the program, and release your improvements to the public, so that the whole community benefits (freedom 3). Access to the source code is a precondition for this".

For more information about the definition of freeware, please visit <>

Freeware and GNU General Public Licence:

The most prominent end user licence of freeware must be the GNU General Public Licence or GPL in brief. For more information about GPL, please click here.

However, not all freewares use the GPL. Example are free BSD UNIX developed at the University of California, Berkeley. There are also variants of GPL like lesser GPL or EULAs(Enduser Licence Agreement) completely written by the author of the freeware.

We decline to accept demoware, trialware or adware to be genuine freeware for its limitation in the 4 kinds of users' freedom.     

Freeware and Open Source Movement

"When programmers can read, redistribute, and modify the source code for a piece of software, the software evolves. People improve it, people adapt it, people fix bugs. And this can happen at a speed that, if one is used to the slow pace of conventional software development, seems astonishing."

OSI is renowned among IT professionals for its OSI reference model, on which the internet and most network architecture are built. Perhaps a lot of people were puzzled by  the huge fortune generated by some proprietary softwares in the past two decades. They do not realized that what really changed the world most are open source softwares. A majority of internet servers are unix or linux machines running a lot of  open sources freewares released under GPL.  The original version of  UNIX was offered  freely to the public with all the source code disclosed. Today, in addition to a number of free unix systems, there are also various versions of  linux developed under the open source model. The participants and their supporters believe  that " this rapid evolutionary process produces better software than the traditional closed model, in which only a very few programmers can see the source and everybody else must blindly use an opaque block of bits."(quoted from As a matter of fact, increasing number of famous solution providers embrace open source movement and attempt to find their own way to adapt to the new environment.

Naturally and logically, GPL and Open Source Movement are closely related as  they share identical philosophy in dealing with information technology and intellectual property . In fact, freeware released under GPL or its variants provide source code as well.

Freeware vs Piracy

  1. The freeware is free because the author believes that he can make the greater contribution to the development of human knowledge in such a way. This view is widely shared by scholars and researchers in academic field.
  2. Even from a pragmatic point of view, the recognition from others in the form of appreciation or acceptance is equally rewarding to some authors. Money is not all that matters. Therefore, keeping the author's stamp and copy of the licence is important in the distribution of freeware as it represents the users' respect to the author.
  3. Freeware is also justified from the commercial point of view. It is rather astonishing that some people think it is reasonable to pay for the advertising agents the cost to broadcast  their products but unwilling to provide the product to the potential customers free for trial.  In the case of software market, it is an "all or nothing" choice to the users but most of them  use only a little portion of the functions provided by the software they purchased. Actually they pay for something they have never used or will never use. The provision of a lite version in the form of freeware is a better way to make its full function software to gain popularity.

Freeware and SME (Small and Medium Enterprise)

Limitation of Freeware

The author of freeware are generous. The end user of freeware is not bound by law to pay them anything, However, don't expect the author will pay for you something that is protected under patent. This is very common in publication or multimedia production which might involve a lot of ripping(raster image processing) or codec (coding & decoding)  technology only available by paying franchise fee or royalty to their patent owners. If you really need such proprietary technology for any reason , buy the commercial software which has paid for and incorporate the module into the programme. An example is the LZW compression method for tif image. Before the patent had expired  in most parts of the world, free image processing programme did not provide such compressing functionality.

Support to enduser is another major  problem. Most of the popular and famous freeware attempt to solve the problem by setting up a user forum, which is more or less like a cooperative in which the author and other volunteers share their expertise and experience to any one who comes across certain problems in using the freeware. However, from another point of view, this is a possible way for freeware to generate income by providing consultancy service to users at market price depending on the actual need of user. A number of reknown freeware providers have established this mode of business and proved to be working well.

Supplementary Notes

We incline to select open source freeware and we believe faithfully that all these freeware were genuine and legal. However, before downloading and installing the software, please read our disclaimer and check the licence agreement carefully at first.


We're informed of the instability of URL to our Official blog so we readily built an alternative site at "" on Jan 10, 2008. The site will operate simultaneously  with "" Click the smart icon above to share with their views as members of SME.

由於接獲投訴原明心齋博客網誌"" 連接並不穩定, 我們已於10.1.2008 另建一並行網站""& nbsp; 點 擊上面之智慧圖示進入博客的內心世界, 分享他們作為中小企成員的感受和意見.

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