Free Software, Open Source and Free Software The Differences 1

The Differences Between Free Software and Open Source Software


Operating systems based on Linux there are the mountains, with some of them being quite popular as Ubuntu or Fedora, example. There are many people that use these systems in their personal computers, but it is easier to find them in corporate applications(servers, terminals, stores, etc.) or in centers of study.One of the the reasons for this is that, in addition to quality, Linux systems usually provide low-cost implementation, most of the times, are free.

There are a huge variety of softwares that are in the the same situation, that is, they are available free of charge. That is where that comes into play a contradiction of which many are not account: “we are going to install such programs on our computers because are free, we will not spend practically nothing with they”. If the reason for the use considers only the aspect of the expense, would it not be more appropriate to say “let’s to install such programs because they are free”? Yes, because free software (free software) and software free are not the same thing. The AbbreviationFinder shows the following differences. Break, you will understand also what is the code open (open source). We’re going there?

What is free software?

Free Software (free software) is a concept of extreme importance in the world of computing. To be in this condition, the software need to have characteristics linked to the aspects of freedom. You can to say, therefore, that the free software is a social movement, which advocates for a cause.

The idea began to take shape in 1983, by the hands of Richard Stallman, who in the time created the GNU , and about two years later, he founded the Free Software Foundation (FSF).

The GNU is a project for the development of a system operating free, this is already supported in the objectives of the freedom. The Free Software Foundation, in turn, is a a non-profit entity created precisely to serve as a basis for the free software movement.

But, in this whole story, where exactly goes the such of freedom? When we talk about this aspect, we discuss the freedom that the the user has to not only use, but also to copy, distribute, modify and study the software. This is what the free software movement stands for.

For both, the Free Software Foundation has defined four “fundamentals” such as base:

  • freedom to run the program, for any purpose (freedom 0);
  • freedom to study how the program works and adapt it to your needs (freedom 1), and access to the source code* a pre-requisite for this aspect;
  • freedom to distribute copies so you can help your neighbor (freedom 2);
  • freedom to improve the program and release your improvements, so that the whole community benefits (freedom 3). Again, here the access to the source code is a pre-requirement.

In the case of the first freedom, an individual or a the organization can use the software in any activity, on any amount of computers.

The second freedom, in turn, gives access to the the source code of the program to which the person may study it or change it according to your need.

The third freedom relates to the permission given to the user distribute as many copies as you like of the program, because this is a way to make it accessible to a greater number of people. The same goes for the source code of the software.

Finally, the fourth freedom is the permission that the user has to change a software, or even collaborate with your development, providing that other persons or organizations to take advantage of something that he perfected.

* What is source Code? In a nutshell, are the instructions that form a program. The source code it is based on a programming language. After completed, this code must be turned on machine language for the computer to effectively of instructions a software. Having access to the source code, a person with knowledge in this can study it or even change it according to your needs or interest.


What is free software?

When we refer to a software purposes free of charge (freeware), we are talking about a program that you can use without paying. Note, therefore, that a software can be free and free, on the other hand, can also be free and closed. A software in this condition is restricted, that is, only the the author or entity that is developing it has access to the source code, so you can’t change it or simply study it, only use it the way it was made available. Many sometimes, there are limitations also in your distribution.

At this point, you can already realize that free software and free software are not the same thing.


All free software is free?

You already know that free software is in the idea that you may use, distribute, study the source code and to modify it, no need to ask authorization to the developer. Software these the conditions generally do not require payment, but this is not the rule: a program may be free, but not necessarily free.

A person can pay to get a software free or charge for to distribute a program in this condition, for example, provided that this action does not conflict with the freedoms pointed by the Free Software Foundation.

As an example, a programmer can develop an application, make it available as free software and sell it in your site, since that does not prevent the buyer from accessing the the source code, make changes, redistribute, and so on.

Note that this is more of a difference between the software free and software purposes free of charge.


GNU Public License (GPL)

When a software is created, the developer associates it with a the document that determines what actions the user can or not run. This is the software license. For example, you can purchase a solution from ERP that is only possible to be implemented in a number limited machines. This and other conditions must be explicit in the permit.

The GNU Public License (GPL) is nothing more than a license created by the Free Software Foundation based on the freedoms that the entity advocates. That is, when a program’s own licenseGPL, means that it is, in fact, free software.

What is copyleft?

It is not uncommon to find the expression copyleft in evidence when we treat of free software. This has a reason: both concepts are closely related.

You may have noticed that the expression copyleft (copy + left) is a pun with the term of copyright (copy + right), which refers to the rights of use or copying of a intellectual property. In this case, the word left alludes to the a context that is more generous: while the copyright gives more focus on restrictions, copyleft is based on the permissions. But, what exactly free software is related to the copyleft?

In the case of free software, the developer could leave your program in the public domain, that is, subject to all and any form of use, alteration and distribution. However, this situation can do with what individuals or entities to modify this software and make it available through a series of restrictions, ignoring the freedoms that would make it free.

Is to avoid problems of the kind that the copyleft enters the scene: with it, the freedoms of modification and distribution are guaranteed, both in a project original as in a derivative. This means that a person or a the organization may not be able to get a software free, modify it, and distribute it in a restricted way, and share the program – whether it changed or not – for the same conditions in which the obtained (share by the same license).

This scenario is valid for the licenses compatible with such conditions, as is the case of the GPL. Worth mentioning, however, there are licenses for free software that does not come with the characteristics of copyleft.

And what is Open Source?

t is common to see Free and Open source Software (Open Source) being treated as if they were the same thing. Equal way, it is not difficult to find the the expression “open source” as a mere synonym of “open-source”. There is not, necessarily, errors here, but there are differences.

The Open Source is a movement that emerged in 1998 by key initiative of Bruce Perens, but with the support of several other people who were not in full agreement with the ideals philosophical, or other aspects of Free Software, resulting in the creation of the Open Source Initiative (OSI).

The Open Source Initiative does not ignore the freedoms of the Free Software Foundation, on the other hand, tries to be more flexible. For this, the organization has defined ten criteria for a software can be considered Open Source:

  1. Free distribution;
  2. Access to the source code;
  3. Permission for the creation of jobs derivatives;
  4. Integrity of the author’s source code;
  5. No discrimination against persons or groups;
  6. No discrimination against fields of activity;
  7. Distribution of license;
  8. License not specific to a product;
  9. The license is not restrictive to other programs;
  10. License neutral in relation to the technology.

Analysing the characteristics of the Free Software Foundation and Open Source Initiative, we realized that, in many cases, a software free can also be considered open-source and vice-versa.

The difference is, essentially, in the fact that OSI have responsiveness greater in relation to the initiatives software on the market. Thus, companies such as Microsoft and Oracle, two giants of the software owner, can develop open source solutions using your own licenses, provided that they comply with the the criteria of the OSI. In Free Software, companies such as these probably would face some kind of resistance, once their main activities or even programs offered can conflict with the ideal of moral by the Free Software Foundation.

Despite this, the Free Software Foundation and Open Source Initiative are not the enemy. Although they do not agree in some points, both entities respect and recognize the importance of the action of each one. In a certain way, you could say even that the work of the two the organizations complement each other: the FSF acting more by social side; the OSI, by the technical contexts and market.

Free Software, Open Source and Free Software The Differences 1