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.
Fees are usually charged for distribution on compact discs and bootable USB drives, or for services of installing or maintaining the operation of free software. Development of large, commercially used free software is often funded by a combination of user donations, crowdfunding, corporate contributions, and tax money. The SELinux project at the United States National Security Agency is an example of a federally funded free software project.
Placing legal or practical restrictions on the comprehension or modification of a program, such as mandatory purchase of special licenses, signing of a Non-Disclosure-Agreement (NDA) or - for programming languages that have multiple forms or representation - making the preferred human way of comprehending and editing a program ("source code") inaccessible also makes it proprietary (non-free). Without the freedom to modify a program, people will remain at the mercy of a single vendor.