The Four Freedoms of Open Source Software are the fundamental principles that define the ethos of the open source movement. These freedoms, outlined by the Open Source Initiative (OSI), are essential for the creation and use of open source software, and they have had a major impact on the development and adoption of this type of software.
The Four Freedoms are:
- The freedom to use the software for any purpose. This means that users are free to use open source software for any purpose, whether it is for personal or commercial use.
- The freedom to study the software and modify it. Open source software is typically accompanied by the source code, which is the underlying code that makes the software function. This allows users to study how the software works and make modifications to it as needed.
- The freedom to redistribute copies of the software. Users are free to distribute copies of open source software to others, as long as they do not charge for the software and include the source code with the distribution.
- The freedom to distribute modified versions of the software. Users are also free to create modified versions of open source software and distribute them, as long as they follow the same terms as the original software and include the source code with the distribution.
These Four Freedoms are critical to the open source movement because they ensure that open source software is freely accessible and can be used, modified, and distributed by anyone. This allows for a collaborative approach to software development, where users can contribute to the development of the software and share their modifications with the wider community.
The Four Freedoms have been widely adopted by the open source community and are now considered to be the cornerstone of open source software. They have played a significant role in the growth and popularity of open source software, and they continue to be an important part of the open source movement.