free software

Slang Dictionary

free software

n. As defined by Richard M. Stallman and used by the Free Software movement, this means software that gives users enough freedom to be used by the free software community. Specifically, users must be free to modify the software for their private use, and free to redistribute it either with or without modifications, either commercially or noncommercially, either gratis or charging a distribution fee. Free software has existed since the dawn of computing; Free Software as a movement began in 1984 with the GNU Project. See also open source.
FOLDOC
Computing Dictionary

free software definition

software
Software that everyone is free to copy, redistribute and modify. That implies free software must be available as source code, hence "free open source software" - "FOSS". It is usually also free of charge, though anyone can sell free software so long as they don't impose any new restrictions on its redistribution or use. The widespread acceptance of this definition and free software itself owes a great deal to Richard Stallman and the Free Software Foundation.
There are many other kinds of "free software" in the sense of "free of charge". See "-ware".
This dictionary is free in both senses, though since it is documentation not software it is distributed under the GFDL.
(2007-02-09)

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010 http://foldoc.org
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