Change: 2 July 2006
Valentine - a Sun Ultra
5 Workstation running Linux
Linux on an old
Gateway Nomad Laptop
About Free Software
Linux is an example of
what is called Free Software.
Free software is free, not just because it may cost you little or
nothing, but rather because everyone is free to use it, in just about
any useful way. You may learn from it, further develop it, use
its techniques on your own projects, keep it, give it away, install it
on as many systems as you like, publish it on the web for others to
use, and tell the world exactly what you think of it. It is not
just the software which is free, but much more than that, the
individual user is free. In order to maintain such freedom, the
software needs to be protected under a peculiar license such as the GNU
General Public License.
Much software development that we see today is based on the premise
that the programs are the exclusive chattel of a few major
corporations. The programs have restrictive licenses which
commonly state that you may only use the program as the major
corporation sees fit, and that although you paid good money for it,
that you do not own it. You cannot copy it. You cannot
install it on more than one computer. You cannot reverse engineer
it. You cannot transfer it to anyone else. And most of all,
you may not require that the major corporation's program actually does
what it is supposed to do. You have no recourse. You paid
for it, but do not own it, and now you are stuck with it. Oh, and
by the way, you may end up in court if you should dare to tell the
world that it doesn't work as claimed, since that agreement states that
you may not review their product without the specific written
permission of the major corporation. I see no freedom here!
It is ever so much better to have available Free Software which
allows you to do all of the above. Linux is just such software.
Diehl Martin passed away in
October 2007. If you need to contact someone, please contact Monica Martin.
diehlmartin.com is a trademark of Diehl Martin
Contents, elements of style copyright 2006 by Diehl Martin