Free software

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Free software  edit   (Category  edit)

Open-source software  edit   (Category  edit)

How's it different from open-source?

It's rather different. Now that Richard Stallman has set me straight, I don't think I'll ever forget that fact. Why “Free Software” is better than “Open Source”

The spirit/mission of free software

Aaron at

Let’s remember, we all do open-source for the benefit of the community. We look to help other people out by documenting our experiences and how we went about solving them. People take different approaches to the same problem. Sometimes someone doesn’t like the way something works, they take the initiative, and develop an alternative that they feel meets their needs and perhaps others who share the same problems.

Progress/victories for the free software mission

Peter Galli (2007-05-04). Ubuntu Founder: No Emulation Software for Dell Systems (,1895,2125848,00.asp). Retrieved on 2007-05-04 10:26.

Dell will not include open-source software such as Wine, which lets users run Windows programs on Linux, with the PCs it plans to bundle with Ubuntu Linux, Mark Shuttleworth, the founder of Ubuntu and its commercial sponsor Canonical, said May 3. "I do not want to position Ubuntu and Linux as a cheap alternative to Windows," Shuttleworth said in an interview with eWEEK following the May 1 announcement that Dell plans to preload Ubuntu on some consumer machines. ... While he said Linux is not yet ready for the general consumer market, he added that Dell's decision to preload Ubuntu Linux on some of its consumer machines is an important milestone for the entire open-source community. "This was a genuine response by Dell to their customers through their IdeaStorm Web site. It was not prompted by us … So, I'm sure they will do other Linux distributions because everyone has their favorite one and that's fine. I'm just very honored that they launched with us," he said. The deal is also good for Linux as a whole, said Shuttleworth, because one of the key challenges for those who want to advocate free software generally "has been device compatibility, and the key there is market pressure more than anything else." "Interestingly enough, I don't think we need to have an enormous share of the number of shipping PCs to still have an enormous influence on the selection of components by the biggest vendors. So, for all versions of Linux—Ubuntu, SUSE, Red Hat, Gentoo, Debian—this is a very important milestone," Shuttleworth said. ... In response to comments from a Novell official that questioned the significance of the deal, Shuttleworth noted that the history of Linux has involved a series of battles for credibility in each category. "So there was a time when people pooh-poohed Linux on the server. Microsoft spent some time doing that and, of course, the free software community decided to take on that challenge and do what needed to be done to make it scalable, reliable, all of the things that you look for from a higher-end Unix. So now the consumer-oriented PC is another field of battle. But, to be fair, I don't think Linux is ready for the general consumer market as yet," he said. With regard to Microsoft's dominance on the desktop front, Shuttleworth said that it's all about lock-in and not something that the company creates through a particular technology. It is something "that we freely give them. So, just having alternative technologies today is not going to change society's behavior. It may affect some of Microsoft's pricing power, but it's not going to dislodge them," he said. What could dislodge them, he said, is fundamentally different ways of working and different business models, which is why Microsoft sees Google as such a large threat, because it brings a very different way of working and a Web-based office suite rather than another traditional office suite. "I am a deep believer in the ideology of free software. I think it's morally better, but I'm also very conscious of the practical benefits of the free software movement. So I can certainly imagine that in the process to settle on the final hardware list, the availability of genuine free software drivers, where the vendor understands how to work with not just Ubuntu but with the Linux community, is a significant contributor to the decision," he said. ... Microsoft has claimed that the application ecosystem around Linux is nowhere near as strong as it is for Windows, and Shuttleworth said that was a good story and might actually be true in some instances. "I would never tell anyone to deploy Ubuntu everywhere without thinking about it. What is powerful in life is to really know what your options are and then to make the right decisions. In many cases, Microsoft has established a strong sector lock and has lots of developers who only use that platform," he said. However, he said, in many cases there is a bigger portfolio of high-quality free software applications than of proprietary ones. "We all saw how the Internet got built on free software. Google is built on free software, its infrastructure is built on free software. The company probably wouldn't have happened if the founders didn't have access to open-source software like Linux and Apache and all the free tools the community gave them," he said. "I'm guessing Salesforce's infrastructure runs on free software. Same for MySpace, I'm guessing, FaceBook too, the list goes on," he concluded.

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