Free Software Movement

As mentioned on the previous page, the Free Software movement was the original movement with the goal of providing free software that could be used freely by all. The leader of the Movement, Richard Stallman, created the first open license-- the GNU license. The group distinguishes itself by its focus on social goals and their dislike of proprietary software.

What is Free Software Richard Stallman Video


Free Software Definition:

The first formal definition of free software was published by the Free Software Foundation (FSF) in February 1986. That definition, written by Richard Stallman, is still maintained today and states that software is free software if people who receive a copy of the software have four freedoms. "Free software is a matter of the users' freedom to run, copy, distribute, study, change and improve the software. More precisely, it means that the program's users have the four essential freedoms:
  • The freedom to run the program, for any purpose (freedom 0).
  • The freedom to study how the program works, and change it to make it do what you wish (freedom 1). Access to the source code is a precondition for this.
  • The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor (freedom 2).
  • The freedom to distribute copies of your modified versions to others (freedom 3). By doing this you can give the whole community a chance to benefit from your changes. Access to the source code is a precondition for this" ( )

Freedoms 1 and 3 require source code to be available because studying and modifying software without its source code is highly impractical. Thus, free software means that computer users have the freedom to cooperate with whom they choose, and to control the software they use.

Open Source Movement vs. Free Software Video

Next up: Open Source Software