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What's in a Free Software License?

Sep 22, 2007, 16:00 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by David M. Williams)


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"'Open source' is a hot buzzword today. It's important to understand free software is still subject to a license just like conventional shrinkwrapped packages. The big difference is these licenses convey rights which can't be revoked. Here's what they mean for programmers and for end users.

"To begin with, it has to be understood free software is free as in free speech. When we say software is free, we speak of liberty and the rights of the user. Ironically, price isn't even an issue in free software; there is generally no stated requirement for free software to be free of charge--but this is simply moot as we will show..."

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