The FSF list is not prescriptive: free licenses can exist that the FSF has not heard about, or considered important enough to write about. So it's possible for a license to be free and not in the FSF list. The OSI list only lists licenses that have been submitted, considered and approved. All open-source licenses must meet the Open Source Definition in order to be officially recognized as open source software. Free software on the other hand is a more informal classification that does not rely on official recognition. Nevertheless, software licensed under licenses that do not meet the Free Software Definition cannot rightly be considered free software.

Merely mentioning the existence of export regulations, without making them a condition of the license itself, is acceptable since it does not restrict users. If an export regulation is actually trivial for free software, then requiring it as a condition is not an actual problem; however, it is a potential problem, since a later change in export law could make the requirement nontrivial and thus render the software nonfree.


When talking about free software, it is best to avoid using terms like “give away” or “for free,” because those terms imply that the issue is about price, not freedom. Some common terms such as “piracy” embody opinions we hope you won't endorse. See Confusing Words and Phrases that are Worth Avoiding for a discussion of these terms. We also have a list of proper translations of “free software” into various languages.
This is the original call to the community to start using the term ‘open source‘ that I issued on 8 February 1998. The event referred to in the first paragraph is the 23 January announcement of the Mozilla source code release. Because this is a historic document, I have fixed some link drift but haven't re-styled it to match the rest of my site. Though it has been converted to XHTML rather than HTML classic, except for this gray box and the RCS date at the bottom it looks pretty much exactly as it did then. There are Spanish and Indonesian translations of this document.

Adobe created the PDF format, so it stands to reason it would still offer a pretty kick-ass free PDF reader, albeit one that's not as full-featured as some others, since it has other tools it wants to sell you. (The DC stands for Document Cloud, Adobe's attempt to get you to store everything online via Adobe.) Using it, you can easily annotate or sign PDFs, fill out forms, or even save a PDF to Word or TXT format.
The Linux kernel, started by Linus Torvalds, was released as freely modifiable source code in 1991. The first licence was a proprietary software licence. However, with version 0.12 in February 1992, he relicensed the project under the GNU General Public License.[28] Much like Unix, Torvalds' kernel attracted the attention of volunteer programmers. FreeBSD and NetBSD (both derived from 386BSD) were released as free software when the USL v. BSDi lawsuit was settled out of court in 1993. OpenBSD forked from NetBSD in 1995. Also in 1995, The Apache HTTP Server, commonly referred to as Apache, was released under the Apache License 1.0.
“Free software” means software that respects users' freedom and community. Roughly, it means that the users have the freedom to run, copy, distribute, study, change and improve the software. Thus, “free software” is a matter of liberty, not price. To understand the concept, you should think of “free” as in “free speech,” not as in “free beer”. We sometimes call it “libre software,” borrowing the French or Spanish word for “free” as in freedom, to show we do not mean the software is gratis.
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Imagine not having the hassle of Windows, but still being able to run (most) Windows programs? That's the goal with ReactOS, which builds on the old Windows NT architecture as an open source operating system. And it only takes a 150MB to install it, so it's small. You can grab it as a full installer, or make a LiveCD version that boots off a disc to give it a try.

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