Free or Open-Source Software

The connotations of both are about the same to most people usually but there is a difference. Free software is software that is free of charge and is usually a commercial offering what we in the open-source community call proprietary software. This means that the program can not be modified to meet our needs and the source code is not available for you and I to look at. There is often restrictions on redistribution so you can't just give a copy to your friends legally. Just like using the Windows operating system. Pleas read your EULA (End User License Agreement) when you use software of any kind. It is becoming quite common for there to be more than just a restriction on giving copies of the software out. For example Microsoft will even restrict what software can be used on a given version of Windows. These are your computers folks, take back control of them and don't be giving your rights away to others.

Open-source on the other hand is not necessarily free of charge but is free to modify, redistribute and adapt to our needs. Commonly it is open-source software that is available in such operating systems as Unix and the GNU/Linux OS. There are however some open-source applications for Windows. One of the most popular would be Open Office, a freely available office suite for most any computer operating system or put simply OS. For a better understanding of this please see GNU.org and the Free Software Foundation.
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