Tuesday Jan 16
GNU Philosopy & 'Free' Software

Richard Matthew Stallman is an American software freedom activist and computer programmer.

In September 1983, he launched the GNU Project  to create a free Unix-like operating system, and has been the project's lead architect and organizer.

With the launch of the GNU Project, he initiated the free software movement; in October 1985 he founded the Free Software Foundation. (ref: wikipedia)

Richard Stallman defines 'Free' in the 'Free Software' as follows:
  • Free Software Respects the User's Freedom
  • Free as in 'Free Speech' and not as in 'Free Beer'
There are 4 freedoms that characterise any software released as 'Free Software' or under the GNU license.

1) Freedom-0:
To run the program as you see fit.
Have control your own computer.
(If you don't have source code, you have no control)

2) Freedom-1
To help yourself to study the source code,
and change it to do what you want
(Adapt the Software)

3) Freedom-2
To help your neighbour by distributing copies to others
This is necessary on ethical & moral grounds
Take control of your computer collectively
(psycho-social resource)

4) Freedom-3
To help build your community
To publish a modified version so others can benefit
from your contributions with modified code

These GNU 'Free Applications' also create a 'Free Market' for paid commercial services such as:
  • those who provide training,
  • customise applications,
  • deploy as hosted services,
  • manage hosted applications,
  • providing software upgrade supports and
  • Technical / Consultancy support.
The 'End-User' has the freedom to choose appropriate Commercial Support as and when he needs such services from others in the GNU community.