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Is that software
|If you search
the 'net for "Free Software" you'll alway come up with links to
the Free Software Foundation or something called a GNU, rather
than software that doesn't cost anything.
You see, "Free Software" it doesn't always refer to software that is free of
charge. It actually refers to the software being "Free" as in
Just so that you understand the difference, here is the definition of free
software from GNU.org
"A program is free software, for you, a particular user, if:
You have the freedom to run the program, for any purpose.
You have the freedom to modify the program to suit your needs. (To make this
freedom effective in practice, you must have access to the
source code, since making changes in a program without having
the source code is exceedingly difficult.)
You have the freedom to redistribute copies, either gratis or for a fee.
You have the freedom to distribute modified versions of the program, so that
the community can benefit from your improvements.
Since "free" refers to freedom, not to price, there is no contradiction
between selling copies and free software.
In fact, the freedom to sell copies is crucial: collections of free software
sold on CD-ROMs are important for the community, and selling
them is an important way to raise funds for free software
development. Therefore, a program which people are not free to
include on these collections is not free software.
Because of the ambiguity of "free", people have long looked for
alternatives, but no one has found a suitable alternative. The
English Language has more words and nuances than any other, but
it lacks a simple, unambiguous, word that means "free," as in
freedom--"unfettered," being the word that comes closest in
meaning. Such alternatives as "liberated", "freedom," and "open"
have either the wrong meaning or some other disadvantage."
"Free Software" is often but not always free-of-charge but it does have
other benefits. Often the software is written by people who are
doing it for the challenge or simply because they enjoy writing
it, or to solve a particular problem, and this approach can
produce really useful programs without the usual commercial
Also because the source code is normally freely available it is also likely
that many people from the software community will have had a
hand in the creation or debugging of the finished article.
More information and a large quantity of Free Software is available from
About the author:
Steve Blampied lives in Jersey in the Channel Islands and has been
an independent IT consultant for around 10 years and has a small
IT company in Jersey.
He is currently putting
together a web site solely about free software.