Freedom is *just* a Feature?

Matthew Miller mattdm at
Sat Oct 6 13:02:43 UTC 2007

On Sat, Oct 06, 2007 at 01:05:02AM -0400, Máirín Duffy wrote:
> I don't really see the word "feature" as computer jargon.
> People's faces have features. My stove, refrigerator, and dishwasher 
> have features. My car has features.  Movies have featured actors and 
> actresses, and the main show is considered the 'feature'.
> Is it just a translation issue?

It's certainly *also* a non-jargon word, but it also has additional layers
of meaning for software. For example, from ESR's Jargon File:

  There's a related joke that is sometimes referred to as the "one-question
  geek test". You say to someone "I saw a Volkswagen Beetle today with a
  vanity license plate that read FEATURE". If he/she laughs, he/she is a

The fact that this makes for a "test" is an indication that there is some
special meaning. And I think it's particularly that special meaning in the
slogan that's resonating with people.

Matthew Miller           mattdm at          <>
Boston University Linux      ------>              <>

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