Home of free-soft.org
last updated January 6, 2003
What is Free Software? What is Open Source?Free Software, as used in this web site, refers to software distributed in source form which can be freely modified and redistributed, or freely modifiable and redistributable software. It does not refer to zero-cost software. This usage of the name "Free Software" was common in the Unix world and recently introduced to the general computer community. Free Software is also referred to as Freed Software, Liberated Software (software libre) or FRS (freely redistributable software). "Open Source" is a marketing name for Free Software, coined in Feb 1998 as an attempt to overcome the confusion over the word "free" in the English language. Open Source refers to the fact that the source code of Free Software is open to and for the world to take, to modify and to reuse. The precise meaning of Free Software is spelled out in the Debian Free Software Guidelines or the Free Software Definition while Open Source is defined officially by the Open Source Definition. Open Source and Free Software refer to, originally the same (around Feb 1998), but now different but largely similiar, set of software, but they emphasize different rationals; see Why ``Free Software'' is better than ``Open Source'' for more explanation.
Examples of Free Software/Open SourceThe following are some well known Free Software:
Major personalities in the Free Software/Open Source community
Richard Stallman, founder of the Free Software Foundation and the GNU Project. Profiled in Steven Levy's 1984 book, Hackers: the Heros of the Computer Revolution as the Last True Hacker, he started the Free Software movement in the 1980s and is considered by many to be the father of Free Software/Open Source.(e-mail [email protected] to suggest people that you think sould be listed here but are currently missing)
Major organizations for Free Software/Open Source
Free Software Foundation
Major Free Software websites
Slashdot.org, major community and news site with forum
The current role of Free Software/Open Source in the software landscapeFree Software is making rapid progress in penetrating the territory currently dominated by Microsoft. Free Software like Linux has become the main challenger to the Microsoft empire.
Additional Reading (Free Software/Open Source literature)
This site is under construction. For now, visit the saga of Software Wars!
Open Source is a trademark of the Software
in the Public Interest.
Free Software: the Software by the People, of the People and for the People!
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