The 3rd Issue of the Free Software Magazine
The History of the GPL
Welcome to free-soft.org,
a web site dedicated to Free
Software (Open Source)
last updated January 6, 2003
What is Free Software? What is Open Source?
Free Software, as used in this web site, refers to software distributed
in source form which can be freely modified and redistributed, or freely
modifiable and redistributable software. It does not refer
to zero-cost software. This usage of the name "Free Software"
was common in the Unix world and recently introduced to the general computer
community. Free Software is also referred to as Freed Software, Liberated
Software (software libre) or FRS (freely redistributable software).
"Open Source" is a marketing name for Free Software,
coined in Feb 1998 as an attempt to overcome the confusion over the word "free" in the English language.
Open Source refers to the fact that the source code of Free Software is
open to and for the world to take, to modify and to reuse. The precise
meaning of Free Software is spelled out in the Debian
Free Software Guidelines or the Free Software Definition while Open Source is defined officially by the Open
Source Definition. Open Source and Free Software refer to, originally the same (around Feb 1998), but now different but largely similiar, set of software, but they emphasize different rationals; see Why ``Free Software'' is better than ``Open Source''
for more explanation.
The 3rd Issue of the Free Software Magazine (mirror of http://www.rons.net.cn/english/FSM/issue03)
Examples of Free Software/Open Source
The following are some well known Free Software:
Major personalities in the Free Software/Open Source community
founder of the Free Software Foundation and the GNU Project. Profiled in Steven Levy's 1984 book, Hackers: the Heros of the Computer Revolution as the Last True Hacker, he started
the Free Software movement in the 1980s and is considered by many to be
the father of Free Software/Open Source.
(e-mail [email protected]
to suggest people that you think sould be listed here but are currently
initial author and top maintainer of the Linux kernel, and possibly the
most respected figure in the community.
Larry Wall, author of the popular Perl language.
Eric Raymond, author
of the famous paper The Cathedral and the Bazaar, and responsible
for the popularization of the name Open Source
Bruce Perens, editor of the Debian Free Software Guidelines
and the Open Source Definition, the former considered by the community as the basic
Alan Cox, active
contributor and maintainer of the Linux kernel.
Guido van Rossum,
author of the Python language.
Miguel de Icaza, founder of GNOME.
Major organizations for Free Software/Open Source
Free Software Foundation
Free Software Foundation Europe
Free Software Foundation India
Software Liberty Association of Taiwan
Software in the Public Interest and
its Debian GNU/Linux and Debian
The Open Source Initiative
The XFree86 Project
The Free Standards Group, parent of the Linux Standard Base
The Apache Software Foundation
The GNOME Foundation
The KDE League
Affero, a company enabling fundraising for projects and causes in open source/free
Major Free Software websites
Slashdot.org, major community and news site with forum
Freshmeat.net, major software release annoumcement site
Advogato.org, the advocate site for free software developers
The current role of Free Software/Open Source in the software landscape
Free Software is making rapid progress in penetrating the territory currently
dominated by Microsoft. Free Software like Linux has become
the main challenger to the Microsoft empire.
Additional material can be found here.
This site is under construction. For now, visit
the saga of Software
Open Source is a trademark of the Software
in the Public Interest.
Linux is a trademark of Linus Torvalds.
GNU is a mark of the Free Software Foundation.
Free Software: the Software by the People, of the People and for
for comments, e-mail: [email protected]