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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

FREE SOFTWARE


First of all lets begin with the term Free Software- free software stands for freedom associated with a software not necessarily price. As we know software unlike furniture or car is not not a physical object but an conceptual object that is expressed in the forms of computer insturctions and data which execute to do a specific task. One property a software has is that it can be copied multiple times once made if one has the source code it can be ported across various platforms you will never have the above privileges with physical goods like furniture ,clothes etc. So incase of software as mentioned before its simply programmes and data now there are kinds of software in existence today a) Proprietry Software b) Free Software

Proprietry software is software which one has to buy or is given for free but the orginal developer of the software retains the source code of the software and does not give it to the user. Examples are all the Windows Operating Systems,Adobe Photoshop etc. In case of propritery software the user does not have the freedom to modify or distribute the original or modified copies of the software. The user is controlled by the software rather than the software controlling the user.

Free software is either bought or downloaded or distributed free of cost. In case of free software the author of the software provides the entire source code of the software to the user ,the user of the software has total freedom to study the source code of the software,modify it as per his wish and distribute the original as well as modified copies of the software either for a fee or absolutely free of cost .It is this freedom of free software that makes it great , the examples of free software are GNU/LINUX ,GCC, Mozilla Firefox etc. In case of free software its the user that controls the software rather than being controlled by it take for example Richard Stallman the founder of the Free Software Foundation when he was working at the AI lab of MIT modified the device driver code of a Xerox Laser printer because of which the printer automatically sent a mail to user when his job was done and in case of a paper jam it would mail all the users about it.

The major advantage that Free Software offers is customization as
per users need since the source code of the software is available to them. Again you are free to share any change that is made in the orginal software ,this is how GNU/LINUX has grown it all started off as a final
year project of Linus Trovalds he made the kernal and released its source code other developers around the world joined in and since the code us openly available to everyone and everyone had freedom to modify the code they kept making little improvements in Linux and it grew into a powerful OS being used by most of the supercomputers ,servers and a few home computers across the world.

The following are the four freedoms thats essential for a software to be free:

Freedom 0: Freedom to run the software as per the wish of the user.

Freedom 1: Freedom to study the source code and modify it as per
his her wish.

Freedom 2: Freedom to distribute the copies of the original software.

Freedom 3: Freedom to distribute the copies of the the modified versions of the software.

Being a Free Software enthusiast I wish to see all the people around the world using free software.

                                                              
                                                                  Rakesh Mallick                

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