What is the Libre? - Manual
Originally, Free Software appeared in the early days of computing. Computers were very large and expensive machines that could only be manipulated by a few researchers.
At the time, software was closely linked to its support and had no intrinsic value. The researchers exchanged copies of the software with their peers to develop them collectively.
These computer researchers called themselves hackers, not to be confused with crackers, targeting specific targets to steal resources from them.
It was not until the late 1970s, when software began to have significant commercial value, that there was a process of legal computer lockout.
The most striking event of the time is probably the Open Letter to Hobbyists, written by Bill Gates in January 1976, urging them to stop copying and modifying them, equating these actions with theft, which today would seem to us as such, but which had not yet entered the mentalities of the time. For this is how software had always been developed: by copying and modifying it so that it could be improved by others.
Faced with this movement, and concerned to preserve software freedom, Richard M. Stallman founded the GNU Project in 1983, formalizing the first definition of free software.
A software is then considered free if it confers to its user these 4 freedoms (numbered from 0 to 3):
- 0, --The freedom of execute the program, for all uses;
- 1, --The freedom of study the operation of the programme and adapt it to its needs;
- 2, --The freedom of redistribuate copies of the program (which implies the possibility of both giving and selling copies);
- 3, --The freedom of upgrade the program and distribute these improvements to the public, for the benefit of the entire community.
Today, despite the economics of proprietary software, free software is everywhere, like the famous Mozilla Firefox browser, and even where you don't expect it, like Google's Android mobile operating system.
For good reason, free software with the following advantages in particular:
- the source code is accessible and thus benefits from the collective intelligence of all the proofreaders;
- the software can be adapted to the needs of other users, as it has the flexibility to adapt it to all needs;
- Open source software is interoperable with other software: it is not only compatible with a defined ecosystem.