What are some notable open source programs

The terms Free software and Open source stand for almost the same variety of programs. However, they say radically different things about these programs based on different values. The free software movement is committed to the freedom of computer users; it is a movement for freedom and justice. In contrast, the open source idea primarily values ​​practical use and does not advocate principles. Therefore, we do not agree with and do not use the term “open source”.

If we have software free we mean by it that it respects essential freedoms of the user: the freedom to carry them out, to examine them and to change them and to redistribute copies with or without changes. This is a matter of freedom, not price, so think about it Freedom of speech, Not free beer.

These freedoms are vital. They are not only important for the well-being of the individual, but for society as a whole, because they promote social solidarity - that is, shared use and cooperation. They become all the more important as ever larger areas of our culture and our lives are increasingly digitized. In a world of digital sounds, images and words will free Software is becoming more and more important for freedom in general.

Millions of people around the world are using it today free Software; the public schools in some regions of India and Spain teach all students to use the free operating system GNU / Linux. Most of these users, however, have never heard of the ethical reasons that led us to develop the operating system and build the free software community, because nowadays this system and this community are more often than not "Open Source" and attributed to a different philosophy in which these freedoms are hardly mentioned.

The free software movement has been fighting for the freedom of computer users since 1983. In 1984 we started the development of the free operating system GNU in order to avoid non-free operating systems that reject the freedom of the users. During the 1980s we developed, and designed and released, most of the main components of the system GNU General Public License (GPL) - a license expressly designed to protect the freedom of all program users - free.

However, not all free software users and developers found themselves part of the goals of the free software movement. In 1998 part of the free software movement split off and began a campaign under the name "Open Source". This term was originally suggested to avoid a possible misunderstanding of the term Free software to prevent. But he was soon associated with philosophical views entirely different from those of the free software movement.

Some of the open source proponents considered them to be "Marketing Campaign for Free Software"which would appeal to business people, highlighting the practical benefits of the software without worrying about right and wrong issues that they may be reluctant to hear. Other supporters simply rejected the ethical and social values ​​of the free software movement. Regardless of their views on their open source commitment, the values ​​have not been quoted or endorsed. The term "Open Source" quickly became associated with ideas and arguments based only on practical values, such as producing or owning powerful, reliable software. Most discussions about "open source" do not pay attention to right and wrong, only popularity and success; here is a typical example. A minority of open source supporters today say freedom is part of the problem, but they don't stand out very much among the many who don't.

The two now describe almost the same software category, but represent views that are based on fundamentally different values. For the free software movement, free software is an ethical imperative that essentially respects the freedom of users. In contrast, the open source philosophy looks at questions of how to make software “better” - in a purely practical sense. It says that non-free software is an inferior solution to the practical problem at hand.

However, non-free software is a social problem for the free software movement, and the solution is to stop using it and switch to free software.

Free software. Open source. If it's the same software (or nearly) does it matter which name you use? Yes, because different words convey different ideas. While a free program under any other name would give you the same freedom today, its permanent existence depends above all on teaching people the value of freedom. If you want to help, it is essential by Free software to speak.

The free software movement doesn't see the open source camp as the enemy; the enemy is proprietary (non-free) software. But we want to let people know that we stand up for freedom, that is, we don't accept to be mistakenly mistaken for open source supporters.

Practical differences between Free software and Open source software

In practice, open source stands for criteria that are a little looser than free software. As far as we know, all released free software source code would qualify as open source. Almost all open source software is free software, but there are exceptions:

First, some open source licenses are too restrictive, so they don't qualify for free licenses. Open Watcom is not free, for example, because its license does not allow creating a modified version and using it privately. Fortunately, few programs use these licenses.

Second, if a program's source code has a weak license, one with no copyleft, its executables may contain additional non-free terms. Microsoft does this with Visual Studio, for example.

If these executable files fully correspond to the approved source code, they are considered open source, but not free software. In this case, however, users can compile the source code to create and distribute free executables.

Ultimately, and most importantly in practice, many products include machine verification signatures in their executables to deter users from installing dissimilar executables. Only a privileged company can create executable files that can run on the device or have full functionality access. We call these devices Tyrants, and practice will "Tivoisation" (from TiVo, a hard drive set-top box where we first observed this). Even if the executable was created from free source code and nominally has a free license, users cannot run modified versions of it - the executable is, in fact, unfree.

Many Android products contain non-free tivoized Linux executables, even though their source code is licensed under the GNU GPL version 2. We designed the GNU GPL version 3 to prohibit this practice.

The open source criteria relate solely to the licensing of the source code. Thus, when these unfree executables are created from source code such as Linux, which is open source and free, they are open source but not free.

Common misunderstandings of Free software and Open source software

The term Free software is prone to misinterpretation: an unintended meaning,, fits as well as the intended meaning,. We are talking about this issue with the release of the Free software definition and the words "Remember" Freedom of speech, Not free beer" at. This is not a perfect solution; it cannot completely solve the problem. A clear and correct term would be better if it did not pose other problems.

Unfortunately, all of the alternatives in English have their own set of problems. We have looked at many suggestions from people, but none are that clear correctthat a change would be a good idea (e.g. the French and Spanish words work in certain contexts libre good, but people in India can't do anything with it). Every proposed substitution brings with it some semantic problem - and closes Open source-Software one.

The official Open source definition (which is published by the Open Source Initiative and is too long to quote here) was indirectly derived from our criteria for free software. But they are not identical. In some ways, it's a little looser. However, in most cases the definition agrees with ours.

Yet the obvious meaning for the term Open source software - and most people seem to think it would mean it - is: You can take a look at the source code. This criterion is much weaker than the free software definition, also much weaker than the official open source definition. It includes many programs that are neither free nor publicly available source code.

Since the obvious meaning for "Open Source" is not what its proponents intend, the result is that most people misunderstand the term. This is how the writer Neal Stephenson defines: I don't think he's the official Intentionally denying or questioning definition. I think he was simply using the conventions of the English language to approximate the meaning of the term. The US state of Kansas published a similar definition:

The New York Times published an article () that stretches the meaning of the term to raise awareness of beta testing - some users test a pre-release version and provide confidential feedback - that proprietary software developers have been doing for decades.

The term was even expanded to include designs for devices published without a granted patent. Patent-free designs of devices can be commendable contributions to society, the term Source code however does not refer to it.

Open source supporters try to counter this by referring to their official definition, but this touch-up approach is less effective for them than it is for us. The term Free software has two natural meanings, one of which is intended, which a person giving the thought of Free speech, not free beer has understood, will not misunderstand again. But the term "Open Source" has only a natural sense different from the intended meaning of its followers. So there is no succinct way to explain or justify the official definition. That deepens the confusion.

Another misunderstanding from "Open Source" is the thought that there is not using the GNU GPL would mean. This seems to be accompanied by another misunderstanding, Free software would GNU GPL licensed software. Both of these are false as the GNU GPL qualifies as an open source license and most of the open source licenses qualify as free software licenses. There are many free software licenses in addition to the GNU GPL.

The term "Open Source" has been expanded further by its application to other activities such as government, education and science, where there is no such thing as source code and where criteria for software licensing are simply not relevant. The only thing these activities have in common is that they somehow invite people to participate. You stretch the term so far that it is only participating or transparent or less than that means. At worst, it has become an empty buzzword.

Different values ​​can lead to similar conclusions ... but not always

In the 1960s, radical groups had a reputation for faction formation: some organizations split off because of differences of opinion over details of strategy, and both groups treated each other as enemies despite similar fundamental goals and values. The right wing took advantage of this to criticize the entire left.

Some try to denigrate the free software movement by comparing our disagreement with open source to the disagreements of these radical groups. They see that wrong. We contradict the open source camp in fundamental goals and values, but their and our views lead in many cases to the same practical behavior - as the development of free software.

As a result, people from the free software movement and the open source camp often work together on practical projects such as software development. It is noteworthy that different philosophical views can so often motivate different people to work together on the same project. However, there are situations where these fundamentally different views lead to very different actions.

The idea of ​​open source is to allow users to modify and redistribute software to make it more powerful and reliable. But that's not guaranteed. Proprietary software developers are not necessarily incompetent. Sometimes they make a program that is powerful and reliable, even though it doesn't respect users' freedom. Free software activists and open source enthusiasts react very differently to this.

A pure open source enthusiast who has not been influenced by free software ideals will say, “I am surprised that you could do the program so well without using our development model, but you did it! How do I get a copy? ”This attitude rewards patterns that take away our freedom and lead to its loss.

The free software activist will say, “Your program is very attractive, but I value my freedom more. So I reject your program. I will do my job in a different way and instead support a project to develop a free replacement. ”If we value our freedom, we can maintain and defend it through our actions.

Powerful and reliable software can be bad

The idea that we want powerful and reliable software comes from the assumption that the software we develop should serve its users. If it is reliable and powerful, it serves the user better.

But you can only say of software that it serves the user if it respects their freedoms. What if the software was designed to chain users? Then performance means tight chains and reliability means they're harder to remove. Malicious features like spying and user restriction, back doors, and forced updates are common in proprietary software, and some open source supporters want to catch up.

Under pressure from the film and music industries, software is specifically designed for end users in order to restrict them. This malicious feature is known as Digital Restriction Management (DRM) (see also DefectiveByDesign.org) and is the antithesis of the spirit of freedom that Free Software aims to achieve. And not just in spirit: because the goal of DRM is to trample your freedom. DRM developers try to make it difficult, impossible or even criminal for users to modify software that has implemented DRM.

Still, some open source proponents have suggested "open source DRM" software. Their idea is to restrict access to encrypted media by publishing the program source code, and by allowing them to change, develop powerful and more reliable software to restrict users like you. The software would then be shipped in devices that do not allow users to change it.

This software could be publicly available source code and also use the open source development model, but it does not become free software because it does not respect the freedom of the user who actually runs it. If the open source development model succeeds in making this software even more powerful and reliable, that will make matters worse.

Fear of freedom

The main initial motivation of those who split the open source camp from the free software movement were the ethical notions of Free softwarethat made some people restless. That's right: Addressing ethical issues such as freedom to talk about responsibilities as well as comfort is asking people to think about things they would prefer to ignore, e.g. whether their behavior is ethically justifiable. This can cause discomfort and some people prefer to turn a blind eye to it. It does not follow that we should stop talking about these subjects.

However, open source proponents have decided to do this. They thought by hiding ethics and freedom and only talking about the immediate practical benefits of certain free software, they could make software more successful for certain users, especially business customers to sell.

When open source proponents talk about anything deeper than that, it is usually the idea of ​​giving humanity a source code "gift". Presenting this as a particularly good deed beyond what is morally required assumes that distributing proprietary software without source code is morally legitimate.

This approach proved effective, on its own terms. The rhetoric of open source has convinced many companies and individuals to use and even develop free software that has expanded our community - but only on a superficial, practical level. The philosophy of open source, with its purely practical values, prevents the understanding of deeper thoughts of free software; it brings many people into our community, but does not teach how to defend them. This is good as far as possible, but not good enough to ensure our freedom. Getting users excited about Free Software only leads them part of the way to becoming defenders of their own freedom.

Sooner or later these users will be asked to switch back to proprietary software. Numerous companies are making an effort, some even offer free (program) copies. Why should the end user decline? Only when they have learned to appreciate the freedom that free software gives them, to appreciate freedom as such more than technical and practical convenience. To get this idea out there we have to talk about freedom. A certain amount of the Silence vis-à-vis companies can be useful for the community, but it becomes dangerous when it becomes so normal that our love of freedom seems eccentric.

It is precisely in this dangerous situation that we are now. Most of the people who are into free software, especially distributors, talk little about freedom - i. d. R. to from "Business customers accepted" to become. Almost all distributions of the GNU / Linux operating system add proprietary packages to the free base system and encourage users to view this as an advantage rather than a flaw.

Proprietary add-on software and partly unfree GNU / Linux distributions find fertile ground, because most of our communities do not insist on freedom in their software. It's not a coincidence. Most of the GNU / Linux users get to know the system through "open source" discussions where freedom is not the goal.Practices that do not want to maintain freedom and words that do not speak of freedom go hand in hand and each promotes the other. To overcome this tendency, we need to talk more, not less, about freedom.


The terms RAFT ('Free Libre Open Source Software') and FOSS ('Free Open Source Software') are used as a way to be neutral between free software and open source software. Should neutrality be the goal RAFT better suited of both, because it is really neutral. But if you want to stand up for freedom, a neutral term is not the way to go. Standing up for freedom means showing your support for freedom.

Rivals for mindshare

Free and open are rival for Mindshare. Free software and Open source software are different concepts, but - as most people look at software - they compete for the same conceptual track. When people get used to it "Open source" saying and thinking is an obstacle to grasping and thinking about the philosophy of the free software movement. Unless they have already spoken to us and our software "Open" associating, we may have to shake them intellectually before they realize that we are for something other enter. Everything the word "Open" promotes, tends to widen the veil that hides the ideas of the free software movement.

Free software activists are therefore well advised to work on an activity that stands out "Open" calls to reject. Even if the activity is good in and of itself, every contribution made by promoting the open source idea does a little damage on the side. There are enough other good activities that can be found free or. libre call. Every contribution to these projects is a small additional achievement. With so many useful projects to choose from, why not choose one that makes a particularly good addition?


As the open source advocates attract new users to our community, we as free software activists must shoulder the task of getting on with the matter freedom to draw attention. We have to say: “It is free software and it gives freedom!” More and louder than ever before. Every time you do Free software instead of "Open Source" used, one helps our cause.

Lakhani and Wolf's treatise on the motivation of free software developers states that a notable part is motivated by the view that software should be free. This is despite the fact that developers were interviewed on SourceForge, a website that does not share the view that this is an ethical matter.