Skip to content

Software, In the beginning.

20140504 (2014 May 04 Sunday)

This article only concerns the world of computers. If you never use a computer then this is of no use to you, stop reading now. But if you do then read on.

In the beginning [of the world of computers], there was Software, and the software had Freedom, and the Software was Free. The Software had freedom in the beginning. Through Free Software all computations were made; without Free Software no computations were made that have been made. In Free Software was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

“Free software” means software that respects users’ freedom and community. Roughly, the users have the freedom to run, copy, distribute, study, change and improve the software. With these freedoms, the users (both individually and collectively) control the program and what it does for them.

When users don’t control the program, the program controls the users. The developer controls the program, and through it controls the users. This nonfree or “proprietary” program is therefore an instrument of unjust power.

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 pizza”.
The freedom to run the program, for any purpose (freedom 0).
The freedom to study how the program works, and change it so it does your computing as you wish (freedom 1). Access to the source code is a precondition for this.
The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbour (freedom 2).
The freedom to distribute copies of your modified versions to others (freedom 3). By doing this you can give the whole community a chance to benefit from your changes. Access to the source code is a precondition for this.

Do we need Free Software — How can we bring about a socially just, environmentally sustainable, and spiritually fulfilling human presence in our computers? — part 0 Introduction — part 1 Where are we now? — part 2 How did we get here? — part 3 What is possible now? — part 4 Where do we go from here?

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: