[sword-devel] Heal Your Church Website

Derek Neighbors sword-devel@crosswire.org
Wed, 12 Feb 2003 10:44:00 -0700 (MST)

> Open source/Free software are terms not easily to define exactly, but
> the general idea is the following:
> - You are free to use the software
> - You have access to the complete source code
> - You are free to make modifications to the source code with no or
>   some restrictions
> - You are free to publish your modifications with no or some
> restrictions

I disagree.  Free Software is VERY easy to define.

Free software is a matter of the users' freedom to run, copy, distribute,
study, change and improve the software. More precisely, it refers to four
kinds of freedom, for the users of the software:

- The freedom to run the program, for any purpose (freedom 0).
- The freedom to study how the program works, and adapt it to your needs
(freedom 1). Access to the source code is a precondition for this.
- The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor
(freedom 2).
- The freedom to improve the program, and release your improvements to the
public, so that the whole community benefits (freedom 3). Access to the
source code is a precondition for this.

Free Software must have ALL of these freedoms to be classified as Free
Software.  Open Source on the other has a much weaker and harder to define
defition.  From the term "Open Source" it simply would imply you must have
access to the Source Code, but the OSI definition states you must have
your license submitted for their review.  There are licenses that are not
Free Software (i.e. do not meet all 4 principles) that are classified as
Open Source by the OSI.