Why free software?

We believe that development and use of free software is not simply a worthy ideological goal; it is also of practical benefit to both users and developers. High-quality free software is widely used, evolves quickly because users are free to change all as they need, and is thereby more portable than proprietary software.

What is Free Software?

It is variously called free software, freely redistributable software, or other terms but the nutshell version of what we mean by these terms is:

  1. Copies of the software, including modified versions, may be freely distributed.
  2. Source code always is available.

More about Free Software

The actual copyright we normally use is the GNU General Public License. The GNU GPL encourages the sort of synergy we hope to take advantage of. Because it ensures that source code be distributed with the program, and that derived programs fall under the same license, it eases the spread of improvements and bug-fixes. The whole user community benefits from the changes that any one programmer makes to the software.

Another source is the Free Software Report (in postscript format) from Cygnus. It is from the early 1990's but some of the articles are as topical now as when they were written.

It is far from clear to us whether/how the advantages of free software apply to manuals for free software. We have a page which goes into more detail.

For Aditional Information

"In a world without fences, who needs Gates" T shirt: M L XL XXL XXXL

The Debian Free Software Guidelines codify what we mean by "free software". We also use "freely redistributable software" to mean the same thing.

The Free Software Foundation has a nice web site including a wide variety of links to other free software resources.

The Free Software Resources page is a nice introduction to all aspects of free software - writing it, selling it, picking a license, &c. Not all parts of the site are completed, but those that exist are quite nice.

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