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The True Meaning Behind “Free Software”

January 14, 2009 Leave a comment

It’s been a month since i last blogged and i decided to start with this topic,which i think every one who uses a software should know.

“The True Meaning Behind Free Software”

what do you think or what comes to your mind when some one says this software is FREE?

  • the software can be downloaded free of cost
  • you can freely give it to your friends

Well,the first one seems right in most cases,But getting it for free of cost means every thing to you,the Answer should be NO.

Because,a true free software should give you some freedom or rights that you need.some of rights or freedoms are described below:

  1. you should be able to use the software for any purposes you need.
  2. you should be able to know how the program works,by looking at the source code of the program.
  3. you should be freely able to redistribute the software  to your friends and neighbours.
  4. if you find any errors in such software you should be able to correct it and give the corrected copies to others,for this you should have the source code of the program.

points 3 and 4 might not be helpful for everyone as they do not want to study programming,they just want their software to work.But these will be helpful for people who want to look at the working of some great software done by others and make room for any improvements or use the coding in their own software again this would help the general people by having improved software.

In fact,these points are originally defined in the GNU General Public License(GPL) which is the license widely used in many open source software.Even the widely used Linux kernel is released under GPLv2 of this license.More about these licenses can be read here at GNU website

you should imagine what would happen to this world when these basic rights are denied.If you look at the history there are many architectural and structural marvels which have been created in the past;now we wonder at them and try to figure out their mysteries because those people haven’t wrote their work or share their skills with other people;there were also great scientists and philosophers whose works were not known to us;we only knew the works which were written or taught.

In a similar way software which is freely shared,modified would be of high quality and there would be technical support for it as long as it is used.

Those softwares which are not shared and cannot be modified as there would be no source code available for it,and there would be no room for improvement and it is limited by the knowledge of the copyright owner and even if it’s great piece of code it would be buried.

Free of cost is an other side of it and you should always look for the above rights or freedom when you use a software,and ALWAYS read the license agreement that comes with a software before you accept it and DON’T use a software when you don’t agree to their terms and conditions.Instead look for an alternative.Always There will be a Choice!

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