The free software movement is a world wide effort that campaigns for the creation, use, and adoption of free software. 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 meal”. We also refer to it as ”swantantra software“ to clarify that the software respects your freedom and is not necessarily gratis.
Free software entitles users to four essential freedoms:
- The freedom to run the program as they wish, for any purpose (freedom 0).
- The freedom to study how the program works, and change it so it does their computing as they wish (freedom 1). Access to the source code is a precondition for this.
- The freedom to redistribute copies so they can help others (freedom 2).
- The freedom to distribute copies of their modified versions to others (freedom 3). By doing this they can give the whole community a chance to benefit from their changes. Access to the source code is a precondition for this.