Saturday, September 5, 2009

Free Software vs Open Source

RMS !!! What comes in to your mind ? Yes if you are a person who hates windows you may have rightly guessed. Richard M Stallman : The father of Free Software movement.

Please Note : The two answers below taken from the article published in the mazine Linux for you in Feb 2009 issue. The intention is to make it readable and reachable to more audience and no other hidden purpose.

Richard Matthew Stallman is a software developer and software freedom activist. In 1983 he announced the project to develop the GNU operating system, a Unix-like operating system meant to be entirely free software, and has been the project's leader ever since. With that announcement Stallman also launched the Free Software Movement. In October 1985 he started the Free Software Foundation.

The GNU/Linux system, which is a variant of GNU that also uses the kernel Linux developed by Linus Torvalds, are used in tens or hundreds of millions of computers, and are now preinstalled in computers available in retail stores. However, the distributors of these systems often disregard the ideas of freedom which make free software important.

That is why, since the mid-1990s, Stallman has spent most of his time in political advocacy for free software, and spreading the ethical ideas of the movement, as well as campaigning against both software patents and dangerous extension of copyright laws. Before that, Stallman developed a number of widely used software components of the GNU system, including the original Emacs, the GNU Compiler Collection, the GNU symbolic debugger (gdb), GNU Emacs, and various other programs for the GNU operating system.

Stallman pioneered the concept of copyleft, and is the main author of the GNU General Public License, the most widely used free software license.

Stallman gives speeches frequently about free software and related topics. Common speech titles include "The GNU Operating System and the Free Software movement", "The Dangers of Software Patents", and "Copyright and Community in the Age of the Computer Networks". A fourth common topic consists of explaining the changes in version 3 of the GNU General Public License, which was released in June 2007.

In 1999, Stallman called for development of a free on-line encyclopedia through the means of inviting the public to contribute articles.

After personal meetings, Stallman has obtained positive statements about free software from the then-President of India, Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, from French 2007 presidential candidate Ségolène Royal, and from the president of Ecuador Rafael Correa. In Venezuela, Stallman has promoted the adoption of free software in the state's oil company (PDVSA), in municipal government, and in the nation's military.

Lets see the talks published in the Linux for you.

Answer to question what is free software all about the response is :
Free software means software that respects the user's freedom abd teg user community.Properitary software (we all know) traps the user's freedom and divides the user, leaving him helpless. They are divided because they are forbidden to share the source code. Helpless because they don't get the source code; hence they can't change the program and they can't even verify what it is doing to them.

Free Software respects that and there ae four essential freedoms that a user must have.(See the numbering :) starts from 0 ! )
0 - Freedom to run the program as you wish.
1 - Freedom to study the source code of the program and then change it to make the program what you wish.
2 - Freedom to help you neighbours, which means to make exact copies of the program and distribute it to others whne you wish.
3 - Freedom to contribute your community, ditribute modified versions when you wish.

Now, this has nothing to do woth the details of what the program does and how. It's about wht you are allowed to do with the program. So, one of the freedom is missing, or partially missing then the social system of a distribution is unethical, and tha makes it porperitory software. So, that software should not exist, because every time someone uses it, it becomes a social problem.


To the question ordinary public uses word open source .... Stallman says : Don't simply assume that , and don't declare the software movement, because that is not true. You must not made a statement that is not true. The reason is that the supporters of the open source asre more in number and this the companies who are involved with software mostly say "open source". And the reason is that most ofthe companies who are involved with properitary software. They don't want to educate the public to reject the properitory software on moral grounds, thus avoiding mentioning the free software movement and never mention our ethical ideas. They can win certain amount of favourable public opinion by connecting themselves with open source, and yeat avoid teaching users to reject properitory software.They misunderstand the term `free` and interpret it as gratis copies of properitory software telling its free. He adds on saying that english language has flaw that other language dont have - that is, there is no word that means free as in freedom with only that meaning.

There are many other questions and answers with the likes and dislikes of Stallman. You can get all in Feb 2009 issue of Linux For you.

I thanks Linux for you to bring this to us. I personally feel very delighted and enlightened on many issues.


  1. Thanks to both, RMS and you Ashish.

  2. hi

    Its really good.I am really thank full for this excellent information.


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