[OSGeo-Discuss] "Free"

watry at steam.coaps.fsu.edu watry at steam.coaps.fsu.edu
Mon Mar 5 11:23:33 PST 2007

Now class! Please pay attention!!

According to the Free Software Foundation

Free software is software that comes with permission for anyone to use, 
copy, and distribute, either verbatim or with modifications, either 
gratis or for a fee. In particular, this means that source code must be 

The term "open source" software is used by some people to mean more or 
less the same category as free software. It is not exactly the same 
class of software: they accept some licenses that FSF consider too 
restrictive, and there are free software licenses they have not 
accepted. However, the differences in extension of the category are 
small: nearly all free software is open source, and nearly all open 
source software is free. FSF prefer the term "free software" because it 
refers to freedom--something that the term "open source" does not do.

Non-free software is any software that is not free. This includes 
semi-free software and proprietary software. Semi-free software is 
software that is not free, but comes with permission for individuals to 
use, copy, distribute, and modify (including distribution of modified 
versions) for non-profit purposes. PGP is an example of a semi-free 
program. Proprietary software is software that is not free or 
semi-free. Its use, redistribution or modification is prohibited, or 
requires you to ask for permission, or is restricted so much that you 
effectively can't do it freely

The term "freeware" has no clear accepted definition, but it is 
commonly used for packages which permit redistribution but not 
modification (and their source code is not available). These packages 
are not free software, so please don't use "freeware" to refer to free 
software. Shareware is software which comes with permission for people 
to redistribute copies, but says that anyone who continues to use a 
copy is required to pay a license fee. Class Dismissed

P.s. Taken from http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/categories.html



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