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Www.FreeSoftwarer1.2 - 01 Jun 2003 - 21:53 - BenScotttopic end

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This topic page is an introduction to the world of Free Software. Free Software is also called Open Source Software. Thus, one often sees the term "Free/Open Source Software", or FOSS. We use the term "Free Software" here, because it came first (see History, below).

What is Free Software?

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To put it as susinctly as possible: Free Software is about Freedom.

Free Software is not owned by any one person, group, or organization. It is the common property of everyone. Anyone is free to copy, distribute, and use the software. Anyone can view or modify the source code of the software. Anyone can distribute modified copies of the software.

While Free Software is almost always "free" in the sense that there are no license fees associated with it, the important part is the freedom, not the price. The English language, unfortunately, uses the same word (free) to mean both libre and gratis, which . One common slogan is, "Think Free Speech, not Free Beer".

History

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  • Unix, Ken T
  • FSF, GNU, RMS
  • ESR

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