Linux and Technology blog

Free Software and Opensource

Free Software Foundation (FSF)

A non-profit organization founded in October 1985 by Richard Stallman to support the free software movement (free as in freedom), and in particular the GNU project.
From its founding until the mid-1990s FSF’s funds were mostly used to employ software developers to write free software. Since the mid- to late 1990s there are now many companies and individuals writing free software, so FSF’s employees and volunteers mostly work on legal and structural issues for the free software community.

For more information on FSF, visit: FSF-wiki link

Open-source software (OSS)

It is computer software whose source code is available under a copyright license that permits users to study, change, and improve the software, and to redistribute it in modified or unmodified form. It is the most prominent example of open source development.
In 1998, a group of individuals advocated that the term free software be replaced by open source software (OSS) as an expression which is less ambiguous and more comfortable for the corporate world. Software developers may want to publish their software with an open-source software license, so that anybody may also develop the same software or understand how it works. Open-source software generally allows anybody to make a new version of the software, port it to new operating systems and processor architectures, share it with others or market it. The aim of open source is to let the product be more understandable, modifiable, duplicatable, or simply accessible, while it is still marketable.

The Open Source Definition, notably, presents an open-source philosophy, and further defines a boundary on the usage, modification and redistribution of open-source software. Software licenses grant rights to users which would otherwise be prohibited by copyright. These include rights on usage, modification and redistribution. Several open-source software licenses have qualified within the boundary of the Open Source Definition. The most prominent example is the popular GNU General Public License (GPL). While open source presents a way to broadly make the sources of a product publicly accessible, the open-source licenses allow the authors to fine tune such access.

For more information on OSS, visit: OSS-wiki link


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