Three Cheers to ‘Free Software’!
A toast for GNU on its 25th Birthday!1
If you intend to ask, what I did on this day, I have nothing to show. I haven’t done anything that’s tangible but yes, I have re-dedicated myself to the idea of Free Software. This post intends to shed some light on a few things (if not for the benefit of others, just as a reminder for myself)
- Free Software is a matter of liberty, not price. I’ve often been in a position that required me to correct people. ‘Free Software’ is software that’s free as in free speech and not free beer. For the lack of a better word in english, the word ‘free’ which also means gratis has been used. Using the term ‘Libre’ sometimes helps and if you are in this part of the world, “mukt” is the best word to use.
- Free Software2 comes along with four fundamental freedoms. To put it simply, the freedom to use, study, share and modify any software.
- Free Software may have the advantage of being ‘technically sounder’, but the philosophy is what matters the most to me.
- I will do whatever is possible within my capacity to spread the philosophy and the associated freedom
Be Free, My Friend!
Here is an extract from one of Stallman’s 3 essays:
We must talk about Freedom
Estimates today are that there are ten million users of GNU/Linux systems such as Debian GNU/Linux and Red Hat Linux. Free software has developed such practical advantages that users are flocking to it for purely practical reasons.
The good consequences of this are evident: more interest in developing free software, more customers for free software businesses, and more ability to encourage companies to develop commercial free software instead of proprietary software products.
But interest in the software is growing faster than awareness of the philosophy it is based on, and this leads to trouble. Our ability to meet the challenges and threats described above depends on the will to stand firm for freedom. To make sure our community has this will, we need to spread the idea to the new users as they come into the community.
But we are failing to do so: the efforts to attract new users into our community are far outstripping the efforts to teach them the civics of our community. We need to do both, and we need to keep the two efforts in balance.