So Kelly decided to answer my rhetorical question a few entries ago by arguing that the Internet does not offer free beer. Now, because I love a Google challenge, mixed in with some Digg dexterity, I set out last night to see what I could find.

To begin, there appears to be some confusion with the phrase “free beer”. From Wikipedia:

In hacker slang, gratis is typically referred to as free as in beer while libre is referred to as free as in speech.

Free as in beer refers to things which are available at no monetary cost (like free beer at a party). While one is permitted to use the object (e.g., drink the beer) without payment, one does not necessarily receive any rights (e.g. take the beer home) or ownership. It can be contrasted with the expressions free as in speech, free as in freedom, or free as in rights, which refer to something which is free of restrictions, as in the freedom of speech. One is permitted to use the object, reproduce it, repurpose it, and generally do what one will with it; usually the only restrictions applied are that credit be given to any entity that contributed to any resulting object and that such object be free as in speech as well. An example of a license with such grants and conditions is the Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike license.

Essentially, “free” can be available at no monetary cost, or it can be referred to in the sense of freedom. Isn’t that a kicker.

Using the latter interpretation, offers its beer recipe under a Creative Commons License, just like open-source software.

It takes about 3 weeks, but, hey, if not the ladies, I’m sure the guys would be impressed.

Oh, and Kelly: Keep in mind that the day after you’ve blogged drunk, you’ve got a lot of explaining to do to your regular readers.