As I mentioned in my last Independence Day post, most free software is free in the monetary sense of the word ("gratis"), which can be a hindrance to those of us who are trying our best to emphasize the "freedom-as-in-liberty" sense of free software to those who don't yet understand. To your average computer user, "free" usually means "free to download," and that category includes many programs that no one in the Free Software world would consider free in the "liberty" sense (here's an FSF page with some definitions of these variants). And even when people download software licensed under the GPL and its variants, they don't notice that difference because they click right by the EULA in every case. And let's face it - most computer users aren't philosophical about software - they just need a program or OS that works so they can get things done (be that work or play).
One of Richard Stallman's memorable and concise ways of making the "free" distinction is to say "think free speech, not free beer." The problem with the term "free software" seems to be that many users can't think past the "free-as-in-beer" quality (or perhaps "free-as-in-cheap" or "free-as-in-kittens" - my next topic!). But let's think for a second about why that is, and how we advocates and defenders of software freedom might use it to our advantage. This software is (almost always) free of charge. When I go out looking for a Linux distribution or a software solution, I don't go to a shopping site. I look in the Ubuntu repositories for a program I know I can use without buying it or I go to a download mirror. Isn't there value in this quality of free software? Can't we enjoy free speech and free beer? (I can really appreciate free beer, can't you?)
Of course, I'm not advocating not caring about freedom-as-in-speech. I'm a librarian and have worked for years in a world were everything's free-as-in-speech, but I also advocate the enjoyment of that shared freedom. Just like the library, the freedom of free software is something all of us can use, share, and enjoy. (And in the case of free software, you don't even need a picture ID and proof of residency!) :-) Let's enjoy it!