Sunday, February 14, 2010

Basically, what is "Free software" as envisioned by RMS

Here are four requirements that
-- according to the Free Software Foundation( -- determine whether or
not software is free:

1. Users are free to use the program(source code and executable) for any purpose.
2. Users are free to examine the source code to see how it works.
3. Users are free(can sell it gratis or sell it for a price) to distribute the program(source code and executable) to others.
4. Users are free to improve the program(source code and executable). The changes done in the original source code also have all the four freedoms(including point 4)

If a license provides all those freedoms, the FSF considers the
software covered by that license to be free software.

There are many different licenses which contain all the above four points but also go ahead and give freedom w.r.t cost and the changes mentioned in point 4 do not carry the freedom which the original had ie, Anybody changing the source for improving it or for any other purpose need not give the changes back to the community. for eg the BSD licence(Apple has "GLEEFULLY" used in their OS X since it has point 1, 2, 3). But GPL does not talk about the cost factor. GPL is more about free as in "Free speech", Not as in "Free beer"(binary freeware or shareware etc).

No comments:

Post a Comment

Nobody can deter me away from "free as in freedom" concept seeded by Sri RMS. See to it that u dont make fun of my belief. If u think otherwise, no need to comment.