Portal:Free and open-source software

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Introduction

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Free and open-source software (FOSS) is software that is distributed in a manner that allows its users to run the software for any purpose, to redistribute copies of it, and to examine, study, and modify, the source code. FOSS is also a loosely associated movement of multiple organizations, foundations, communities and individuals who share basic philosophical perspectives and collaborate practically, but might diverge in detail questions.

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The historical precursor to this was the hobbyist and academic public domain software ecosystem of the 1960s to 1980s. The FOSS movement's "free" part originates from Richard Matthew Stallman, who noted the lost freedom to users on the decline of the public domain ecosystem and the growth of a copyrighted proprietary software ecosystem. In response, as a hack of the copyright system, he created the GPL, a protective copyleft license, aiming for the creation of a complete and free operating systemGNU. Shortly after, the BSDs (FreeBSD, OpenBSD, NetBSD) brought an alternative FOSS approach to the table: the more public domain–like permissive licenses. Other noteworthy FOSS organizations from this time include the Apache Foundation (Apache Server), GNOME, Debian, Mozilla Foundation (Firefox), with their own ideas: The Free Software Definition, Debian Free Software Guidelines, The Open Source Definition, and more. At the end of the 1990s, in the context of the dot-com bubble and web 2.0, the Open-Source movement (with Eric S. Raymond, Bruce Perens, Tim O'Reilly and others) gave important impulses to FOSS with the achieved open sourcing of Netscape's browser as Firefox and Sun Microsystems' office suite, OpenOffice.org. The incorporation of Linus Torvalds' Linux kernel in FOSS OS paved the way to broad mainstream recognition and acceptance of FOSS in the IT domain and among the general public. In the 2010s GitHub's openness and collaboration encouraging software repository cloud service brought FOSS software development & maintenance methodologies to mainstream software development.
The FOSS movement inspired the creation of other movements, such as open access, open hardware, open content, free culture, open standards, and many more.

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Selected article - show another
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Freenet is a peer-to-peer platform for censorship-resistant, anonymous communication. It uses a decentralized distributed data store to keep and deliver information, and has a suite of free software for publishing and communicating on the Web without fear of censorship. Both Freenet and some of its associated tools were originally designed by Ian Clarke, who defined Freenet's goal as providing freedom of speech on the Internet with strong anonymity protection.

The distributed data store of Freenet is used by many third-party programs and plugins to provide microblogging and media sharing, anonymous and decentralised version tracking, blogging, a generic web of trust for decentralized spam resistance, Shoeshop for using Freenet over Sneakernet, and many more. (Full article...)

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Terminology

Although there was free software before, in 1983 Richard Stallman launched the free software movement and founded the Free Software Foundation to promote the movement and to publish its own definition of free software. Others published alternative definitions of free software, including the Debian Free Software Guidelines and the Berkeley Software Distribution-based operating system communities.

In 1998, Bruce Perens and Eric S. Raymond began a campaign to market open-source software and founded the Open Source Initiative, which espoused different goals and a different philosophy from Stallman's.

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Operating systems

The following operating systems are released under free software licenses:

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Topics
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Impediments and challenges
Digital Millennium Copyright Act · Digital rights management · Tivoization · Software patents and free software · Trusted Computing · Proprietary software · SCO-Linux controversies · Binary blobs
Adoption issues
OpenDocument format · Vendor lock-in · GLX · Free standards · Free software adoption cases
About licences
Free software licences · Copyleft · List of FSF-approved software licenses
Common licences
GNU General Public License · GNU Lesser General Public License · GNU Affero General Public License · IBM Public License · Mozilla Public License · Permissive free software licences
History
...of free software · Free software movement · Timeline of free and open-source software
Groupings of software
Comparison of free software for audio · List of open-source video games
Naming issues
GNU/Linux naming controversy · Alternative terms for free software · Naming conflict between Debian and Mozilla

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Good articles

A number of articles on free and open-source software topics have been designated good articles:

Please consider improving other free and open-source software articles. With your attention, they could be added to this list!

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Wikimedia

The following Wikimedia Foundation sister projects provide more on this subject:

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