Canadian Education

A forum for discussion of issues important to the future of education for Canadians.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Great article about why universities should be advancing free software for the benefit of the world, rather than enriching MS et al.

And heard about the new MS brainwashing campaign? :-) MS...the antithesis of freedom...

Here's a very short definition of the Four Freedoms...why aren't more schools teaching this?:

The first formal definition of free software was published by FSF in February 1986.[4] That definition, written by Richard Stallman, is still maintained today and states that software is free software if people who receive a copy of the software have the following four freedoms:

  • Freedom 0: The freedom to run the program for any purpose.
  • Freedom 1: The freedom to study and modify the program.
  • Freedom 2: The freedom to copy the program so you can help your neighbor.
  • Freedom 3: The freedom to improve the program, and release your improvements to the public, so that the whole community benefits.

Freedoms 1 and 3 require source code to be available because studying and modifying software without its source code is highly impractical.

Thus, free software means that computer users have the freedom to cooperate with whom they choose, and to control the software they use. To summarize this into a remark distinguishing libre (freedom) software from gratis (zero price) software, Richard Stallman said: "Free software is a matter of liberty, not price. To understand the concept, you should think of 'free' as in 'free speech', not as in 'free beer'".[5]

In the late 90s, other groups published their own definitions which describe an almost identical set of software. The most notable are Debian Free Software Guidelines published in 1997,[6] and the Open Source Definition, published in 1998.