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set in motion the writing of Free as in Freedom: Richard Stallman's. Crusade for Free Software and, by extension, the work prefaced here,. Richard Stallman and .
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If an export regulation is actually trivial for free software, then requiring it as a condition is not an actual problem; however, it is a potential problem, since a later change in export law could make the requirement nontrivial and thus render the software nonfree. In order for these freedoms to be real, they must be permanent and irrevocable as long as you do nothing wrong; if the developer of the software has the power to revoke the license, or retroactively add restrictions to its terms, without your doing anything wrong to give cause, the software is not free.

A free license may not require compliance with the license of a nonfree program.

OpenLibra | Free as in Freedom (): Richard Stallman and the Free Software Revolution

It is acceptable for a free license to specify which jurisdiction's law applies, or where litigation must be done, or both. Most free software licenses are based on copyright, and there are limits on what kinds of requirements can be imposed through copyright. If a copyright-based license respects freedom in the ways described above, it is unlikely to have some other sort of problem that we never anticipated though this does happen occasionally.

However, some free software licenses are based on contracts, and contracts can impose a much larger range of possible restrictions. That means there are many possible ways such a license could be unacceptably restrictive and nonfree. We can't possibly list all the ways that might happen. If a contract-based license restricts the user in an unusual way that copyright-based licenses cannot, and which isn't mentioned here as legitimate, we will have to think about it, and we will probably conclude it is nonfree. Finally, note that criteria such as those stated in this free software definition require careful thought for their interpretation.

To decide whether a specific software license qualifies as a free software license, we judge it based on these criteria to determine whether it fits their spirit as well as the precise words.

Free as in Freedom (2.0): Richard Stallman and the Free Software Revolution

If a license includes unconscionable restrictions, we reject it, even if we did not anticipate the issue in these criteria. Sometimes a license requirement raises an issue that calls for extensive thought, including discussions with a lawyer, before we can decide if the requirement is acceptable. When we reach a conclusion about a new issue, we often update these criteria to make it easier to see why certain licenses do or don't qualify.

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If you are interested in whether a specific license qualifies as a free software license, see our list of licenses. If you are contemplating writing a new license, please contact the Free Software Foundation first by writing to that address.

The proliferation of different free software licenses means increased work for users in understanding the licenses; we may be able to help you find an existing free software license that meets your needs. If that isn't possible, if you really need a new license, with our help you can ensure that the license really is a free software license and avoid various practical problems.

Software manuals must be free , for the same reasons that software must be free, and because the manuals are in effect part of the software. The same arguments also make sense for other kinds of works of practical use — that is to say, works that embody useful knowledge, such as educational works and reference works.


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Wikipedia is the best-known example. Any kind of work can be free, and the definition of free software has been extended to a definition of free cultural works applicable to any kind of works. From time to time we revise this Free Software Definition.

Free As In Freedom

Here is the list of substantive changes, along with links to show exactly what was changed. There are gaps in the version numbers shown above because there are other changes in this page that do not affect the definition or its interpretations. For instance, the list does not include changes in asides, formatting, spelling, punctuation, or other parts of the page. You can review the complete list of changes to the page through the cvsweb interface.

We defend the rights of all software users. There are also other ways to contact the FSF. Skip to main text Set language.

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What is free software? The Free Software Definition Have a question about free software licensing not answered here? Copyright Infringement Notification. Stallman explained the major changes at the 2nd international GPLv3 conference in April While there were several changes in version 2, there was one change in particular that Stallman looks back on as significant:.

There are three main areas for this. One is to do with Tivoization, another has to do with software patents, and another has to do with compatibility with other Free Software licences. Now, their goal is to restrict the users and deny the users freedom. With this in mind, Stallman added clauses to GPLv3 that prevent anyone from stopping other users from making modifications and that allow users to make software changes that bypass DRM.

The drafts were not favored by Linus Torvalds and other Linux kernel developers, who were happy with GPLv2 and voiced several objections to the proposed changes.


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  • After several updated drafts and a total of 2, comments, the official GPLv3 was released on June 29, , and remains in common use today. Today, there is a wide variety of licenses for software authors to choose from. Even if you do not publish software yourself, it is important to understand the meanings of the common software licenses. A senior Web developer based in the UK. Kevin runs a blog at www. He believes in continuous learning and improvement. Kevin is also active on the Fediverse at InternetKevin mastodon.

    enuhticlai.tk By Kevin O'Shaughnessy August 2, Stewart Brand in John Gilmore. John Perry Barlow. The copyleft symbol is a play on the copyright symbol. TiVo Series2. The first version of this was released in by Sam Williams. It profiles the founder of the Free software movement and the motivations for producing the movement. It is done mostly in a 'summer read' biography style about the founder and less about the works that where produced.

    The second version is a revised version of the book by Richard Stallman.