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Is Software Really "Free" If You Can't Sell Your Own Version Of It?

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That thought struck me when I read this:

Tremulous is open source, licensed under the GPL. Tremulous is open source because we believe that the source code should be made available to the public, along with the binaries. The primary reason behind this is to allow other developers to utilise sections of this code in their own works, should it be useful to them. It should be noted however, that using the source requires your work to also be covered by the GPL and hence be open source itself.


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Well for something to be really free it has to be "public domain", which basically means nobody owns it, and anyone can do whatever they want it. Works done by the government are sometimes published into the public domain.

Copyrighted works often goes into the public domain too, after the copyright expires. The time for expiration varies in different countries. Unfortunately lobby organizations constantly try to extend the expiration date.

Someone also made WTFPL, which is an extremely-liberal license for copyrighted works.

The two most popular free open source software licenses are the GNU General Public License (GPL) and the BSD license.

The BSD license is the most libre one. But the GPL licensed is much liked too, because the GPL license is a "copy-left" license, which means that it ensures people who distributed derived works must do so under the same license, to ensure it will be free open source software too, because not everybody likes that someone takes something open source, then turns it into something proprietary.

I think that both the GPL and the BSD license are very good licenses. If I made a large software application I would use the GPL license, but if I made an library implementation of an file format, protocol, standard, algorithm or something like that, I would license it under the BSD license (or possibly the LGPL).

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Tremulous is licensed under the GPL. It means if you want, you can sell it, even though you didn't make it. :cool:

It also you can make an own game, based on the game, and then sell it.

Maybe there is a company that make some software that is under the GPL, then they sell it, but don't offer any downloads, then you can download it, and put it on a website where you offer it for free.

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Cheers, I've read the second before. Not a massive difference between the two, I like using the term FLOSS now, much better.

Yes, the FOSS and the FLOSS terms are good ones, that I use sometimes too.

You're right, that they're not a very different, it is because open source has its roots in free software.

Free software and open source software basically and generally refers to the same thing. The free software community and the open source community is like one big happy community. :cool:

Though it is sometimes argued that philosophically they differ.

Back in the early days of computing, everything was released with the source code available, and people could do whatever they wanted. Everybody shared as is common in the scientific and academic community. However, this was changed when companies came and stopped sharing the source code, they made software proprietary and put restrictions on it, and it was no longer free.

This was when our beloved hero and eccentric freedom fighter Richard Stallman quit his job, went home to liberate software, to make sure that everybody had the freedom to run and use software for any purpose, study how the program works, redistribute it and improve it and release the the improvement. He founded the Free Software Foundation (FSF), wrote the GNU General Public License (GPL), created the GNU Project and started to develop the GNU operating system, an operating system consisting of free software only.

The term "free software" did not appeal to companies, so a group of people began to start using the term "open source" for the same thing, this worked well.

It is sometimes argued that proponents of the term "open source" put the emphasis on the open source development model which is claimed to be superior to the proprietary one, and that the "free software" has emphasis on freedom.

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