``Free software'' is a matter of liberty, not price. To understand the concept, you should think of ``free speech'', not ``free beer.''
``Free software'' refers to the users' freedom to run, copy, distribute, study, change and improve the software. More precisely, it refers to three levels of freedom:
See Categories of Free Software (18k characters) for a description of how ``free software,'' ``copylefted software'' and other categories of software relate to each other.
When talking about free software, it is best to avoid using terms like ``give away'' or ``for free'', because those terms imply that the issue is about price, not freedom. Some common terms such as ``piracy'' embody opinions we hope you won't endorse. See Confusing Words and Phrases that are Worth Avoiding for a discussion of these terms.
This first group of articles directly address the philosophy of the GNU project and free software:
This second group of articles deal with related topics but are not directly about the GNU project:
FSF & GNU inquiries & questions to email@example.com. Other ways to contact the FSF.
Comments on these web pages to firstname.lastname@example.org, send other questions to email@example.com.
Copyright (C) 1996, 1997 Free Software Foundation, Inc., 59 Temple Place - Suite 330, Boston, MA 02111, USA
Verbatim copying and distribution is permitted in any medium, provided this notice is preserved.
Updated: 4 Aug 1997 tower