Free software

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Free software, FOSS or Open source is software that is distributed in a manner that allows its users to run the software for any purpose, to redistribute copies of, and to examine, study, and modify, the source code.

Sourced[edit]

  • “Free software” is a matter of liberty, not price. To understand the concept, you should think of “free” as in “free speech,” not as in “free beer”.
  • Software manuals must be free, for the same reasons that software must be free, and because the manuals are in effect part of the software. The same arguments also make sense for other kinds of works of practical use — that is to say, works that embody useful knowledge, such as educational works and reference works. Wikipedia is the best-known example. Any kind of work can be free, and the definition of free software has been extended to a definition of free cultural works applicable to any kind of works.
  • My work on free software is motivated by an idealistic goal: spreading freedom and cooperation. I want to encourage free software to spread, replacing proprietary software that forbids cooperation, and thus make our society better.
  • We have customers who build engines for aircraft. I am happy they are not using freeware when I get on a jet.
  • There is no such thing as free software. Nobody develops software for charity. For innovation to continue, there needs to be value - and even open-source applications have some form of market model, which incentivises them to continue innovating.
    • Paulo Ferreira, platform strategy manager at Microsoft South Africa, March 2008 [1]
  • ... there is this thing called the GPL, which we disagree with ... nobody can ever improve the software.
  • [open source software] is long-term credible ... FUD tactics can not [sic] be used to combat it.
    • Vinod Valloppillil, Microsoft Program Manager, "Open Source Software: A (New?) Development Methodology", 1998
  • Recent case studies (the Internet) provide very dramatic evidence ... that commercial quality can be achieved / exceeded by OSS projects.
    • Vinod Valloppillil, Microsoft Program Manager, "Open Source Software: A (New?) Development Methodology", 1998
  • The GNU GPL is not Mr. Nice Guy. It says "no" to some of the things that people sometimes want to do. There are users who say that this is a bad thing--that the GPL "excludes" some proprietary software developers who "need to be brought into the free software community."
    But we are not excluding them from our community; they are choosing not to enter. Their decision to make software proprietary is a decision to stay out of our community. Being in our community means joining in cooperation with us; we cannot "bring them into our community" if they don't want to join.
    What we can do is offer them an inducement to join. The GNU GPL is designed to make an inducement from our existing software: "If you will make your software free, you can use this code." Of course, it won't win 'em all, but it wins some of the time.
  • Paying isn't wrong, and being paid isn't wrong. Trampling other people's freedom and community is wrong, so the free software movement aims to put an end to it, at least in the area of software.
  • For example, the GPLv2 in no way limits your use of the software. If you're a mad scientist, you can use GPLv2'd software for your evil plans to take over the world ("Sharks with lasers on their heads!!"), and the GPLv2 just says that you have to give source code back. And that's OK by me. I like sharks with lasers. I just want the mad scientists of the world to pay me back in kind. I made source code available to them, they have to make their changes to it available to me. After that, they can fry me with their shark-mounted lasers all they want.
  • So the whole 'We have a list and we're not telling you' should tell you something. Don't you think that if Microsoft actually had some really foolproof patent, they'd just tell us and go, 'nyaah, nyaah, nyaah!'?
  • Nobody should start to undertake a large project. You start with a small _trivial_ project, and you should never expect it to get large. If you do, you'll just overdesign and generally think it is more important than it likely is at that stage. Or worse, you might be scared away by the sheer size of the work you envision. So start small, and think about the details. Don't think about some big picture and fancy design. If it doesn't solve some fairly immediate need, it's almost certainly over-designed. And don't expect people to jump in and help you. That's not how these things work. You need to get something half-way _useful_ first, and then others will say "hey, that _almost_ works for me", and they'll get involved in the project.
  • The legal system doesn't work. Or more accurately, it doesn't work for anyone except those with the most resources. Not because the system is corrupt. I don't think our legal system (at the federal level, at least) is at all corrupt. I mean simply because the costs of our legal system are so astonishingly high that justice can practically never be done.
  • I bumped into him (Craig Mundie of Microsoft) in an elevator. I looked at his badge and said, "ah, you work for Microsoft." He looked back at me and said, "Oh ya, and what do you do?" And I thought it was some kind of tad dismissive, here is a guy in a suit looking at a scruffy hacker... so I gave him a thousand yard stare and said, "I am your worst nightmare!"
  • The Many Minds Principle: the coolest thing to do with your data will be thought of by someone else.
  • Let's put it this way: if you need to ask a lawyer whether what you do is "right" or not, you are morally corrupt. Let's not go there. We don't base our morality on law.
  • "Sharing the code just seems like The Right Thing to Do, it costs us rather little, but it benefits a lot of people in sometimes very significant ways. There are many university research projects, proof of concept publisher demos, and new platform test beds that have leveraged the code. Free software that people value adds wealth to the world."
  • I personally believe open source is most important is in the operating system and in file formats. As long as those two things remain open source you can never have a monopoly. No company can dominate by any means except a superior product, and that puts the choice back into the hands of the public.
  • Another group has started using the term “open source” to mean something close (but not identical) to “free software”. We prefer the term “free software” because, once you have heard that it refers to freedom rather than price, it calls to mind freedom. The word “open” never refers to freedom.

External links[edit]

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