Free software

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dwight3 Senior Member • Posts: 2,707
Free software

A recent thread split off into a discussion of free software. There are several different points of view about free software and the previous thread was getting long so I though it might be useful to have a thread specifically about the subject.

I had always considered free software to be software for which there was no monetary component. And open source software was pretty much the same. I see from the referenced thread that free software and open source software are not the same thing.

Free software, as defined by the gnu operating system doesn't refer to the monetary component, but to the freedom of the user to:

  • Run the program in any manner desired, without restrictions
  • Study the operation of the program and change it to do new or better things
  • Redistribute the program
  • Redistribute modified versions of the program

I can see that these considerations could be important to some people. But this is a community of photographers, not software engineers so the customization of the program is probably beyond the ability of most of us. I have written software for my own use on occasion. It takes me weeks to get something that works the way I want it to, and on those occasions where I have redistributed the software, the secondary users use the program in their own manner, not the way I use it, so it winds up being really buggy. I am definitely not a software engineer.

Given that point of view, I suspect that most photographers here will consider that "free software" means free from the monetary component, not the freedom to modify it. And some will extend that meaning to differentiate between single license software and subscription licensed software.

Personally I find that I get value for my choice of software, even though it's subscription licensed. And the value I get  from the software is worth the monetary outlay.


This subject is open for discussion, points of view, flames, rants, etc.

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