Several years ago I handed a friend of mine a business card which had the four (software) freedoms on it. It was good to hear the comment “Oh no, you’ve broken my understanding of free.” The fact is for this person they had never thought of Free as in Freedom, and had thought of it only in terms of costless.
So it is I open the posts I write on this blog software, with the best thing I can find a defintion of the four freedoms.
What is Free Software?
Software is Free Software if it comes with permission for all recipients to do the following four things:
* Run the program, for any purpose.
* Study how the program works, and adapt it to your needs.
* Redistribute copies.
* Improve the program, and release your improvements to the public.
Access to the programs’ source code is required for the second and fourth freedoms. “Source code” is the human-readable, human-modifiable form of a computer program – like blueprints or a recipe.
“The Free Software Definition” as found on the gnu web site gives a much broader and deeper understanding of this definition.