An issue that garners far less press coverage than the ongoing net neutrality story is that of free software. The software powering the devices we use is just as vital for the internet as is the management of the “pipes” that carry our data. Most of us, though, don’t even think about the software we choose to use (or worse, are coerced to because of total marketplace saturation).
By free software, they do not mean software that is given away at no cost. Lifelong free software activist Richard Stallman uses the French word “libre” to describe his ideal software; it’s free as in freedom, not as in free beer. The Free Software Foundation (FSF) defines four criteria for this freedom: the freedom to run the software for any purpose; to study how it works (to have access to its source code); to redistribute copies; and to publish modified and improved versions.
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