What is Free Software? A Simple Explanation

When you buy, sign up, or register through our links, we may earn a commission. Learn More ›

Exploring the Concept of ‘Libre Software’

Software labeled​ as ‘libre’ grants individuals the autonomy to‌ examine, alter, redistribute, and utilize the code without any‍ constraints.

The ethos behind WordPress’s ​decision to adopt the‍ libre software⁢ model is rooted in a‌ commitment ​to transparency and communal sharing, fostering an environment that is both⁣ inviting and inclusive.

What‌ is Free Softwrare

Unpacking ‌’Libre’ in Software

Understanding ‘libre’ in‍ the ‌context of software is akin to‍ appreciating the concept of ‘liberty’ rather‍ than ‘gratis’.

Consider the allure of ⁤complimentary beverages⁣ at social ⁤gatherings, where ⁢attendees can indulge without financial concern.​ This scenario illustrates ‘gratis’ as in ‘without cost’.

WordPress’s popularity can be partly attributed ‍to its cost-free nature.⁢ Although there are additional expenses associated with website creation, acquiring WordPress itself incurs no charges.

WordPress is Free

However, the essence of libre software transcends cost and emphasizes the principle ⁣of freedom.

Richard Stallman initiated the Libre Software⁢ movement in 1989, driven by concerns‌ over increasingly restrictive software licenses. This movement extends beyond technology, ‍embodying a societal crusade.

Stallman’s vision was to safeguard user freedoms, enabling them to share software and assist⁢ others, a practice often prohibited by ​proprietary licenses.

To realize this vision, he introduced a‌ license that would uphold these freedoms. The term ‘libre software’ typically ⁣refers to programs released ‌under the GNU General Public License⁤ (GPL), including Stallman’s GNU operating system.

Deciphering the GPL

The GPL, overseen by the Free Software ⁤Foundation (FSF), has undergone revisions to better ⁢preserve user freedoms.

Free‍ Software Foundation

Envision‌ the GPL as a ‘Charter of Liberties’ for software, offering four core freedoms:

  • The liberty to operate⁢ the software for any ​intent.
  • The liberty to scrutinize and modify the source code to suit any need.
  • The⁢ liberty to disseminate the software to others.
  • The liberty to share your personalized versions of the software.

The sole stipulation is that any shared adaptations of GPL‍ software must also be licensed under the GPL. This concept, known as ‘copyleft’, ensures the perpetuation of software⁤ freedom.

WordPress operates under‍ the GPLv2 license, guaranteeing its ongoing free availability and reliance on a collaborative community rather than a singular corporate entity.

The WordPress Bill of​ Rights

For​ an in-depth look, consider exploring What is the GPL?

Libre vs. Open Source: A Comparative Analysis

‘Open source’ denotes⁤ software that is accessible for examination, modification, and⁣ distribution. It represents a movement ⁤as well, with the Open Source Initiative at the forefront.

They formulated the Open‍ Source Definition, which outlines ‌ten criteria for open source software. Its objectives align closely with those of libre software:

  • Permission for others ⁢to distribute open source software, either gratis or for a fee.
  • Allowance for software modifications, which‍ must⁢ be shared under identical terms as the original.
  • Advocacy against discrimination towards any⁢ individual, group, or usage purpose.

Open Source Initiative

While both movements share similar goals, their underlying philosophies differ.

Libre software champions a societal ethos of freedom, whereas open source⁣ emphasizes the commercial benefits of code sharing, recognizing its potential for ⁤collaborative development.

Open-source‌ software encompasses various⁤ licenses. For instance, WordPress is under GPLv2, the Apache web ⁢server software uses an ⁣Apache ⁣license, and ⁤ PHP is available under both GPL ⁣and ⁢PHP licenses.

WordPress embodies both ‍libre ⁤and open-source software. Due to the⁤ significant overlap, it is ‍sometimes referred to​ as FOSS (free and open-source software) or⁣ FLOSS (free/libre/open-source software).

For⁢ further insights, visit What is Open Source?

WordPress’s Business‌ Model Despite Being Libre

WordPress is not the property of any single⁤ corporation or individual; it is a collective open-source project enriched by the contributions of ‌countless⁣ skilled​ participants.

A dedicated team of developers spearheads ‌the project, but contributions from the broader WordPress community are integral to its ‌success. Programmers ⁣can offer patches​ and resolve issues,⁣ while users can propose new features.

Although the WordPress team does not profit directly from the software, they can ⁣generate revenue through⁢ WordPress-related services.

For instance, ‍the WP Think team ​has crafted ‌a suite of premium WordPress plugins that provide advanced functionalities for a subscription fee.

To delve deeper, review Why is WordPress Free? What are the Costs? What is the Catch?

This guide aims to enhance your understanding of libre software. For additional resources, peruse the list below, which includes articles offering valuable WordPress tips, tricks, and strategies.

If ⁣you found this guide beneficial, please consider‌ subscribing‍ to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also connect⁣ with us⁢ on Twitter ⁤and Facebook.

Recommended Reading