As the Free Software Foundation (FSF) explain the philosophical difference between free software and open-source software. The two terms describe almost the same category of software, but they stand for views based on fundamentally different values.

Free software

Richard Stallman’s free software definition, adopted by the Free Software Foundation (FSF), defines free software as a matter of liberty not price, and it upholds the four essential freedoms. The earliest-known publication of the definition of his software idea was in the February 1986 edition of the FSF’s now-discontinued GNU’s project website. It is an ethical imperative, essential respect for the user’s freedom. It is a social movement.

Free Software

FOSS Philosophy

FOSS stands for Free and Open-Source Software. It is an umbrella term for software that is simultaneously considered both free software and open-source software. It is software developed by informal collaborative networks of programmers. It is matter of the user’s freedom to run, copy, distribute, study, change, and improve the software.

Example of free and open-source software

  • Linux
  • Mozilla Firefox
  • VLC media player
  • SugarCRM
  • Apache web server
  • Query

Four kinds of freedom to the users of the software

Freedom 0: To run the program for any purpose.
Freedom 1: To study how the program works, and change it to make it do what you wish.
Freedom 2: To distribute copies so you can help your neighbor.
Freedom 3: To improve the program, and release your improvements to the public.

Also Read : The Basic Concept of UNIX, LINUX and its Architecture

Open Source Software

Open-Source software is a development methodology. According to Eric Raymond, open source is a philosophy, or a methodology that promotes free redistribution and access to a product’s design or ideas and implementation details. The open-source software definition is used by the Open Source Initiative (OSI) to determine whether a software license qualifies for the organization’s insignia for Open- Source Software.

  • Open as in free
  • Open as in access
  • Open as in over time
  • Open as in not closed
  • Open as in reuse and change
  • Open as in any place and for anyone
Open Source Software

Criteria of open source software

  1. Free redistribution: The license shall not require a royalty or other free for such sale
  2. Source code: The program must include source code, and must allow distribution in source code as well as complied form. The source code must be the preferred form in which a programmer would modify the program.
  3. Derived works: The license must allow modification and drive works, and must them to be distributed under the same terms as the license of the original software.
  4. Integrity of the author’s source code: The license may require derived works to carry a different name or version number from the original software.
  5. No discrimination against person and groups: The license must not discriminate against any person or group of person.
  6. Distribution of license: The right attached to the program must apply to all to whom the program is redistributed without the need for execution of an additional license by those parties.
  7. License mustn’t be specific field to a product: The right attached to the program must not depend on the program being part of a particular software distribution.
  8. License mustn’t restrict other software: The license must not place restriction on other software that is distributed along with the licensed software.
  9. License must be technology neutral: No provision of the license may be predicated on any individual technology or style of interface

Advantage of open-source software:

  • Availability of source code
  • Doesn’t depends on vendors
  • Cost much less than proprietary counterparts
  • Quality and customizability in open source is better.

Disadvantage of open-source software:

  • Incompatibility issue with software and hardware
  • Bad codes and some unqualified people who use it
  • No financial incentive
  • Software quality assurance process is widely not transparent.

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