Saturday, March 2, 2013

What is Free Software?

Free Software is about the 4 essential freedoms of the customer, NOT about the price.

These 4 essential freedoms are:
  • The freedom to run the program, for any purpose (freedom 0).
  • The freedom to study how the program works, and change it so it does your computing as you wish (freedom 1). Access to the source code is a precondition for this.
  • The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbour
    (freedom 2).
  • The freedom to distribute copies of your modified versions to others
    (freedom 3). By doing this you can give the whole community a chance to benefit from your changes. Access to the source code is a precondition for this.

Free Software is available either for sale, or for a free price.

The opposite of Free Software, is Proprietary Software (also known as Closed Source Software).

Proprietary Software is also available either for sale, or for a free price; but it does not provide the customer with the 4 essential freedoms that the Free Software provides.

The most common ways to make a profit from a Free Software program, currently are:
  1. Sell the Free Software program itself.
  2. Sell Support for the Free Software program.
  3. Crowd funding.

More information about Free Software, is available here.