free as in
It's NOT about price.
The term "free software" is sometimes misunderstood--it has nothing to do with price.
It is about freedom.
Here, therefore, is the definition of free software: a program is free software, for you, a particular user, if:
- You have the freedom to run the program, for any purpose.
- You have the freedom to modify the program to suit your needs. (To make this freedom effective in practice, you must have access to the source code, since making changes in a program without having the source code is exceedingly difficult.)
- You have the freedom to redistribute copies, either gratis or for a fee.
- You have the freedom to distribute modified versions of the program, so that the community can benefit from your improvements.
Since "free" refers to freedom, not to price, there is no contradiction between selling copies and free software. In fact, the freedom to sell copies is crucial: collections of free software sold on CD-ROMs are important for the community, and selling them is an important way to raise funds for free software development. Therefore, a program which people are not free to include on these collections is not free software.
Because of the ambiguity of "free", people have long looked for alternatives, but no one has found a suitable alternative. The English Language has more words and nuances than any other, but it lacks a simple, unambiguous, word that means "free", as in freedom--"unfettered" being the word that comes closest in meaning. Such alternatives as "liberated", "freedom", and "open" have either the wrong meaning or some other disadvantage.
Some Freedom History
(Primarily from a technology perspective.)
|The 70s||People and organizations including universities, companies, government bodies initially openly shares information.||Good||Global|
|1982||AT&T releases UNIX System III with more restrictive licensing than earlier. (Open Source/freedom fighters instead now focuses more on (e.g.) BSD.)||Bad||Global|
|-"-||Canada Act in 1982, which severed the vestiges of legal dependence on the British parliament. Finally Canada (the country) is free.||Good||Canada|
|~1984||GNU Project is started by Richard Stallman.||Good||Global|
|1991||Linux kernel is first released by Linus Torvalds||Good||Global|
|-"-||World Wide Web first sees its daylight on August 6, 1991, when Tim Berners-Lee posts a short summary of the World Wide Web project on the alt.hypertext newsgroup. This date also marked the debut of the Web as a publicly available service on the Internet.||Good||Global|
|1998||THE DIGITAL MILLENNIUM COPYRIGHT ACT OF 1998 U.S. Copyright Office Summary - the new law (DMCA) in the US severely restricts users' rights. Wikipedia article.||Bad||USA|
|2001||EU Copyright Directive (EUCD) - similar law to the US' DMCA restricts users' rights in the European Union, European Community.||Bad||EU|
|2004||Directive 2004/48/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on the enforcement of intellectual property rights (also known as "(IPR) Enforcement Directive" or "IPRED") is a European Union directive in the field of intellectual property law, made under the internal market provisions of the Treaty of Rome. The directive covers the remedies that are available in the civil courts, but not criminal offenses. [wikipedia]||Bad||EU|
WikiLeaks (wikileaks.ch) is launched 2006, source: wikipedia) makes global news with releases of hundreds of thousands of secret documents. *Even if some parts could be sensitive from national security views, we believe too much secrecy is bad and we're looking for more open governments.
|Believe is Good...*||Global|
|2008||'On 30 October 2008, the much-maligned “business method” patent died at the hand of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, the very court that had given birth to it a decade earlier.' [From The Death of Business-Method Patents (google it )by Steven J. Frank, IEEE Spectrum magazine, first published in March 2009.] See (e.g.) IP Thoughts.||Good||USA|
The trial around Pirate Bay in Sweden takes place (wikpedia also has a specific section for The Pirate Bay Trial). An important test of freedom of speech in Sweden and Swedish citizens' rights. (Worldwide impact as users from all around the world uses thepiratebay.org). Guilty verdict was announced on April 17.
|2011||EU directive on browser cookies, 'EU Cookie Law', (e.g.) ec.europa.eu/..., cookielaw.org/, wired.co.uk/news/archive/2012-05/25/cookies-made-simple.||Good||EU, ~Global|
|2015||UK discusses demanding back doors in communication solutions. Google UK surveillance bill for more.||Ridiculously Bad!||UK, +Global|
|2015||EFF Wins Petition to Inspect and Modify Car Software Exemption Requests. Also Approved for Tweaking Abandoned Videogames, Jailbreaking Phones and Tablets, and Remixing Videos" more.||Good||USA|
|2015||Netherlands government votes to spend hard cash for supporting LibreSSL, OpenSSL, and PolarSSL are libraries that use the SSL protocol. "They are also libraries that create crypto-tools. These technologies are used to protect some websites like Facebook. What US and Europe wants after the Paris attack is to open a back-door for the government to access private data. By funding these open-source projects, Netherlands showed that they want to make the encryption systems more robust regardless of what the U.S. and the European union thinks. The dutch government believes that better data encryption is essential for the protection of human rights." [perezsaint.com]||Good||Global|
|2015||New EU directive, ""The regulation returns control over citizens' personal data to citizens. Companies will not be allowed to divulge information that they have received for a particular purpose without the permission of the person concerned. Consumers will have to give their consent by a clear and affirmative action to the use of their data.", extract from www.europarl.europa.eu ... 20151215IPR07597 / Data protection package Parliament and Council now close to a deal.
"Among the most eye-popping parts of the new directive are fines of up to 4% of a company's global gross revenue if it doesn't adequately inform users what information about them it is collecting and what it plans to do with it." [USA Today, Dec 15, 2015]
On Impact:even if any legislation is created for a specific market (e.g. EU, UK, US), in our increasingly global world with international companies and technologies, rule of thumb is Global impact. For instance, companies with web sites with visitors from Europe strongly need to consider EU privacy regulations. Companies developing products for use/sale in UK may have to consider - yes, the Ridiculously Bad - any backdoor requirements. Note: the latter example is, in our view, less likely to actually happen. Any backdoor for government will also be an equally useful backdoor for criminals for profict and terrorists.