What is Free/Libre Software?

We use digital technology every day to obtain information, exchange, communicate, buy, etc. These actions, whether private or public, are processed by computers, whatever their shape: laptops, Internet servers, mobile phones, tablets, game consoles, Internet boxes, etc. To carry out these actions, these machines use software that handles our data. It is thus important to know who writes the software, who manages it, and for which purpose. While not everyone has the capacity to write software or understand how it works, we all have the possibility to decide whom we trust.

[Please note that “Free Software” refers to freedom, not price. This is why we use the term “Free/Libre Software”.]

Free/Libre Software and its four freedoms

Even nowadays, most software that is distributed through classical channels is proprietary, meaning that its license includes usage restrictions. On the contrary, software is called “Free/libre Software” when it explicitly grants, through its license, the freedoms to run it without any restrictions, as well as the freedom to study how it works, copy it, modify it, and redistribute it. What makes these four freedoms possible is access to the software’s source code—its “recipe”.

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By choosing Free/libre Software, not only do you have the opportunity to enjoy these four freedoms, but you are also joining large communities of users and developers who share the same goals and respect your freedom. By deciding to install Free/Libre Software (which is often also gratis) on your digital devices, you are helping to share and improve programs that are available to absolutely everyone.