Free software (the term open source is often used synonymous, although it stands for something slightly different) is software that is meant to be shared. There is a strong movement behind free software that inspired other movements with its values and success.
Free software is software whose license guarantees the user the right to
- use his tool for whatever purpose, to
- study how it works, to
- share it with whoever he wants (under the same conditions) and to
- alter it (and also share the results) - to build on the work and help to improve it, for example.
There is a whole world of free software with software covering virtually every need.
Free software is a great form of sharing knowledge and tools to create knowledge. Well known examples of free software are the webbrowser Mozilla Firefox and Linux.
Free software usually gets released under a so called free software license - to legally protect the sharing in legal environments built to protect property and profits (copyright). Those licenses use the copyright (or "Urheberrecht") to ensure the rights of the users (those four freedoms), to protect and guarantee the sharing. Some also require that derivative works are released at the same conditions - so called copyleft.
- The Oekonux project examines how the concept of free software can be adapted to economy and politics to overcome capitalism with concepts of free software.
- Shareconomy is a concept for an alternative economy based on the principles of free software.
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