“Free software is a matter of liberty, not price. To understand the concept, you should think of free as in free speech, not as in free beer.”
The concept of a free beer got me thinking that I could extend the analogy. Thus:
If you give away some free beer at a festival or a meeting then it does not involve a cost. The development of the product and everything involved in its process has nothing to do with any input that you may have. You are therefore merely a consumer and in this particular case you have received the glass of beer free and not at any monetary cost or indebtedness on your part.
If, on the other hand, you allow anyone who receives the beer to have it tested, to change it and maybe do some research that might improve it, then you are allowing for changes that may (or may not) be significant to others now and in the future.
The significance, as Stallman puts it in his statement, is huge.
There used to be a saying “give a person a fish and they can eat for one day, teach them to fish and they can eat forever”. This is exactly the difference between giving the beer away and holding allrights to it (gratis) and allowing the beer to be changed, improved upon (hopefully with attribution) which is libre.
In a world of problems where any developments can be significant to our future we need a better beer and we can’t afford to accept that our beer is the ultimate frothy drink. Libre is so much more powerful than gratis!