The Free Software Definition

The Free Software Definition written by Richard Stallman and published by Free Software Foundation (FSF), defines free software as being software that ensures that the end users have freedom in using, studying, sharing and modifying that software. The term "free" is used in the sense of "free speech," not of "free of charge."[1] The earliest-known publication of the definition was in the February 1986 edition[2] of the now-discontinued GNU's Bulletin publication of FSF. The canonical source for the document is in the philosophy section of the GNU Project website. As of April 2008, it is published there in 39 languages.[3] FSF publishes a list of licences which meet this definition.

The definition and the Four Freedoms

The definition published by FSF in February 1986 had two points:[2]

The word "free" in our name does not refer to price; it refers to freedom. First, the freedom to copy a program and redistribute it to your neighbors, so that they can use it as well as you. Second, the freedom to change a program, so that you can control it instead of it controlling you; for this, the source code must be made available to you.

In 1996, when the gnu.org website was launched, "free software" was defined referring to "three levels of freedom" by adding an explicit mention of the freedom to study the software (which could be read in the two-point definition as being part of the freedom to change the program).[4][5] Stallman later avoided the word "levels", saying that you need all of the freedoms, so it's misleading to think in terms of levels.

Finally, another freedom was added, to explicitly say that users should be able to run the program. The existing freedoms were already numbered one to three, but this freedom should come before the others, so it was added as "freedom zero".[6][7]

The modern definition defines free software by whether or not the recipient has the following four freedoms:[8]

  • The freedom to run the program as you wish, 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 neighbor (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.

Freedoms 1 and 3 require source code to be available because studying and modifying software without its source code is highly impractical.

Later definitions

In July 1997, Bruce Perens published the Debian Free Software Guidelines.[9] A definition based on the DFSG was also used by the Open Source Initiative (OSI) under the name "The Open Source Definition".

Comparison with The Open Source Definition

Despite the philosophical differences between the free-software movement and the open-source-software movement, the official definitions of free software by the FSF and of open-source software by the OSI basically refer to the same software licences, with a few minor exceptions. While stressing the philosophical differences, the Free Software Foundation comments:

The term "open source" software is used by some people to mean more or less the same category as free software. It is not exactly the same class of software: they accept some licences that we consider too restrictive, and there are free software licences they have not accepted. However, the differences in extension of the category are small: nearly all free software is open source, and nearly all open source software is free.

— Free Software Foundation[10]

See also

References

  1. ^ "What is free software? - GNU Project - Free Software Foundation". Gnu.org. 2013-06-18. Retrieved 2013-10-03.
  2. ^ a b Stallman, Richard M. (February 1986). "GNU's Bulletin, Volume 1 Number 1". Gnu.org. p. 8. Retrieved 2019-02-08.
  3. ^ "The Free Software Definition - Translations of this page". Free Software Foundation Inc. Retrieved 2013-10-03.
  4. ^ "What is Free Software? - GNU Project - Free Software Foundation (FSF)". Ru.j-npcs.org. 1997-03-20. Retrieved 2013-10-03.
  5. ^ "What is Free Software? - GNU Project - Free Software Foundation (FSF)". Web.archive.org. Archived from the original on January 26, 1998. Retrieved 2013-10-03.
  6. ^ Free Software Foundation (2018-07-21). "What is free software? - GNU Project - Free Software Foundation (Footnote)". The reason they are numbered 0, 1, 2 and 3 is historical. Around 1990 there were three freedoms, numbered 1, 2 and 3. Then we realized that the freedom to run the program needed to be mentioned explicitly. It was clearly more basic than the other three, so it properly should precede them. Rather than renumber the others, we made it freedom 0.
  7. ^ "The Four Freedoms". I [Matt Mullenweg] originally thought Stallman started counting with zero instead of one because he's a geek. He is, but that wasn't the reason. Freedoms one, two, and three came first, but later he wanted to add something to supersede all of them. So: freedom zero. The geekness is a happy accident.
  8. ^ Stallman, Richard. "The Free Software Definition". Free Software Foundation. Retrieved 2013-10-15.
  9. ^ Bruce Perens. "Debian's "Social Contract" with the Free Software Community". debian-announce mailing list.
  10. ^ https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/categories.html.en
ACM Transactions on Mathematical Software

ACM Transactions on Mathematical Software (TOMS) is a quarterly scientific journal that aims to disseminate the latest findings of note in the field of numeric, symbolic, algebraic, and geometric computing applications. It has been published since March 1975 by the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM).

The journal is described as follows on the ACM Digital Library page:

ACM Transactions on Mathematical Software (TOMS) documents the theoretical underpinnings of numeric, symbolic, algebraic, and geometric computing applications. It focuses on analysis and construction of algorithms and programs, and the interaction of programs and architecture. Algorithms documented in TOMS are available as the Collected Algorithms of the ACM in print, on microfiche, on disk, and online.

The purpose was first stated by its founding editor, Professor John Rice, in the inaugural issue. The decision to found the journal came out of the 1970 Mathematical Software Symposium at Purdue University, also organized by Rice, who negotiated with both SIAM and the ACM regarding its publication.Algorithms described in the transactions are generally published in Collected Algorithms. Algorithms published in Collected Algorithms since 1975 (and some earlier ones) are available.

Authors publishing in ACM TOMS "are required to transfer the copyright to ACM upon acceptance of the algorithm for publication",[1] and ACM subsequently distributes the software under the ACM Software License Agreement, which is free of charge for noncommercial use only. (This restriction means that ACM TOMS software is not Free and open-source software according to The Free Software Definition or The Open Source Definition.)

The current co-Editors-in-Chief are Zhaojun Bai (University of California, Davis) and Wolfgang Bangerth (Colorado State University).

Debian Free Software Guidelines

The Debian Free Software Guidelines (DFSG) is a set of guidelines that the Debian Project uses to determine whether a software license is a free software license, which in turn is used to determine whether a piece of software can be included in Debian. The DFSG is part of the Debian Social Contract.

Debian Social Contract

The Debian Social Contract (DSC) is a document that frames the moral agenda of the Debian project. The values outlined in the Social Contract provide the basic principles for the Debian Free Software Guidelines that serve as the basis of the Open Source Definition.

Debian believes the makers of a free software operating system should provide guarantees when a user entrusts them with control of a computer. These guarantees include:

Ensuring that the operating system remains open and free.

Giving improvements back to the community that made the operating system possible.

Not hiding problems with the software or organization.

Staying focused on the users and the software that started the phenomenon.

Making it possible for the software to be used with non-free software.

Fork (software development)

In software engineering, a project fork happens when developers take a copy of source code from one software package and start independent development on it, creating a distinct and separate piece of software. The term often implies not merely a development branch, but also a split in the developer community, a form of schism.Free and open-source software is that which, by definition, may be forked from the original development team without prior permission, without violating copyright law. However, licensed forks of proprietary software (e.g. Unix) also happen.

Free Software Foundation Europe

The Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) was founded in 2001 to support all aspects of the free software movement in Europe. FSFE is a charitable registered association (eingetragener Verein) under German law, and has registered 'chapters' in several European countries. It is an official European sister organization of the US-based Free Software Foundation (FSF). FSF and FSFE are financially and legally separate entities.

FSFE believes that access to and control of software determines who may participate in a digital society. Therefore, the freedoms to use, copy, modify and redistribute software, as described in The Free Software Definition, are necessary for equal participation in the Information Age.

Free and open-source software

Free and open-source software (FOSS) is software that can be classified as both free software and open-source software. That is, anyone is freely licensed to use, copy, study, and change the software in any way, and the source code is openly shared so that people are encouraged to voluntarily improve the design of the software. This is in contrast to proprietary software, where the software is under restrictive copyright licensing and the source code is usually hidden from the users.

FOSS maintains the software user's civil liberty rights (see the Four Essential Freedoms, below). Other benefits of using FOSS can include decreased software costs, increased security and stability (especially in regard to malware), protecting privacy, education, and giving users more control over their own hardware. Free and open-source operating systems such as Linux and descendants of BSD are widely utilized today, powering millions of servers, desktops, smartphones (e.g. Android), and other devices. Free-software licenses and open-source licenses are used by many software packages. The free-software movement and the open-source software movement are online social movements behind widespread production and adoption of FOSS.

Free beer

Free beer may refer to:

Free Beer, an open source beer formerly known as Vores Øl, Danish for Our Beer

Gregg "Free Beer" Daniels, the radio talk show host from The Free Beer and Hot Wings Show

Free Beer (comedic musical duo), the former Canadian comedic musical duo

Tommy Guerrero, a member of the former San Francisco skate punk band "Free Beer"

Free content

Free content, libre content, or free information, is any kind of functional work, work of art, or other creative content that meets the definition of a free cultural work.

Free license

A free license or open license is a license agreement which contains provisions that allow other individuals to reuse another creator's work, giving them four major freedoms. Without a special license, these uses are normally prohibited by copyright law or commercial license. Most free licenses are worldwide, royalty-free, non-exclusive, and perpetual (see copyright durations). Free licenses are often the basis of crowdsourcing and crowdfunding projects.

The invention of the term "free license" and the focus on the rights of users were connected to the sharing traditions of the hacker culture of the 1970s public domain software ecosystem, the social and political free software movement (since 1980) and the open source movement (since the 1990s). These rights were codified by different groups and organizations for different domains in Free Software Definition, Open Source Definition, Debian Free Software Guidelines, Definition of Free Cultural Works and the The Open Definition. These definitions were then transformed into licenses, using the copyright as legal mechanism. Since then, ideas of free/open licenses spread into different spheres of society.

Open source, free culture (unified as free and open-source movement), anticopyright, Wikimedia Foundation projects, public domain advocacy groups and pirate parties are connected with free and open licenses.

Free software license

A free-software license is a notice that grants the recipient of a piece of software extensive rights to modify and redistribute that software. These actions are usually prohibited by copyright law, but the rights-holder (usually the author) of a piece of software can remove these restrictions by accompanying the software with a software license which grants the recipient these rights. Software using such a license is free software (or free and open-source software) as conferred by the copyright holder. Free-software licenses are applied to software in source code and also binary object-code form, as the copyright law recognizes both forms.

GNU General Public License

The GNU General Public License (GNU GPL or GPL) is a widely-used free software license, which guarantees end users the freedom to run, study, share and modify the software. The license was originally written by Richard Stallman of the Free Software Foundation (FSF) for the GNU Project, and grants the recipients of a computer program the rights of the Free Software Definition. The GPL is a copyleft license, which means that derivative work can only be distributed under the same license terms. This is in distinction to permissive free software licenses, of which the BSD licenses and the MIT License are widely-used examples. GPL was the first copyleft license for general use.

Historically, the GPL license family has been one of the most popular software licenses in the free and open-source software domain. Prominent free-software programs licensed under the GPL include the Linux kernel and the GNU Compiler Collection (GCC). David A. Wheeler argues that the copyleft provided by the GPL was crucial to the success of Linux-based systems, giving the programmers who contributed to the kernel the assurance that their work would benefit the whole world and remain free, rather than being exploited by software companies that would not have to give anything back to the community.In 2007, the third version of the license (GNU GPLv3) was released to address some perceived problems with the second version (GNU GPLv2) that were discovered during its long-time usage. To keep the license up to date, the GPL license includes an optional "any later version" clause, allowing users to choose between the original terms or the terms in new versions as updated by the FSF. Developers can omit it when licensing their software; for instance the Linux kernel is licensed under GPLv2 without the "any later version" clause.

Java Research License

The Java Research License (JRL) is a software distribution license created by Sun in an effort to simplify and relax the terms from the "research section" of the Sun Community Source License. Sun's J2SE 1.6.0, Mustang, is licensed under the JRL as well as many projects at Java.net.

Although the JRL has elements of an open source license, the terms forbid any commercial use and are thus incompatible with both the Free Software Definition and the Open Source Definition. The JRL is a research license to be used for non-commercial academic uses.

List of free and open-source software packages

This is a list of free and open-source software packages, computer software licensed under free software licenses and open-source licenses. Software that fits the Free Software Definition may be more appropriately called free software; the GNU project in particular objects to their works being referred to as open-source. For more information about the philosophical background for open-source software, see free software movement and Open Source Initiative. However, nearly all software meeting the Free Software Definition also meets the Open Source Definition and vice versa. A small fraction of the software that meets either definition is listed here.

Some of the open-source applications are also the basis of commercial products, shown in the List of commercial open-source applications and services.

Open music

Open music is music that is shareable, available in "source code" form, allows derivative works and is free of cost for non-commercial use. It is the concept of "open source" computer software applied to music. However, the non-commercial stipulation associated with Open Music is incompatible with the first section of the Open Source Definition as well as the first freedom put forth in The Free Software Definition (freedom 0). Open Music is one of the general responses to the RIAA's and governmental actions against the music industry and its consumers.

"Open music" can be considered a subset of "free music" (referring to freedom). The differences of philosophy between advocates of "open source software" and "free software" have not surfaced in the community of musicians contributing music to the copyleft commons. This may be due to the relatively recent emergence of copyleft music, as well as to the fact that software development generally involves much more collaboration and derivatization than does music production. It is not clear that open collaboration using copyleft licenses provides any significant advantages in music production, as open source advocates commonly argue is the case for software development.

Several websites have surfaced to provide musicians with the platform and tools necessary for online music collaboration. Most of these sites promote one or more of the Creative Commons licenses, allowing derivative works and sharing of the finished songs. Early implementations of these collaboration sites relied on threaded discussion forum software and FTP to provide a means for musicians to initiate and discuss projects, and to share multi-track files. More recent and modern sites provide robust project-management features, automatic encoding and compression, online playback streaming, web-based upload and download options, chat, and project-based discussion forums.

There are plenty of artists that use Creative Commons Licenses. One the most open licence is "Creative Commons Attribution" License.

Outline of free software

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to free software and the free software movement:

Free software – software which can be run, studied, examined, modified, and redistributed freely (without any cost). This type of software, which was given its name in 1983, has also come to be known as "open-source software", "software libre", "FOSS", and "FLOSS". The term "Free" refers to it being unfettered, rather than being free of charge.

Parabola GNU/Linux-libre

Parabola GNU/Linux-libre is an operating system for the i686, x86-64 and ARMv7 architectures. It is based on many of the packages from Arch Linux and Arch Linux ARM, but distinguishes from the former by offering only free software. It includes the GNU operating system components common to many Linux distributions and the Linux-libre kernel instead of the generic Linux kernel. Parabola is listed by the Free Software Foundation as a completely free operating system, true to their Free System Distribution Guidelines.Parabola uses a rolling release model like Arch, such that a regular system update is all that is needed to obtain the latest software. Development focuses on system simplicity, community involvement and use of the latest free software packages.

Software license

A software license is a legal instrument (usually by way of contract law, with or without printed material) governing the use or redistribution of software. Under United States copyright law, all software is copyright protected, in both source code and object code forms. The only exception is software in the public domain. A typical software license grants the licensee, typically an end-user, permission to use one or more copies of software in ways where such a use would otherwise potentially constitute copyright infringement of the software owner's exclusive rights under copyright.

The Open Source Definition

The Open Source Definition is a document published by the Open Source Initiative, to determine whether a software license can be labeled with the open-source certification mark.The definition was taken from the exact text of the Debian Free Software Guidelines, written and adapted primarily by Bruce Perens with input from the Debian developers on a private Debian mailing list. The document was created 9 months before the formation of the Open Source Initiative.

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