Free Software Introduction

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What is free software?

Why should you care about it? Why is it awesome?

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What's some great free software to start using today?

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Why should I care about software?

Our daily lives are increasingly mediated by digital technologies. Everything that powers our society—our media, medical devices, voting machines, communication, and so much more—depends on devices running software to control them. The way that software functions is determined by its "source code", and whoever owns that in turn controls our technology and has immense influence over our lives. When that source code is owned by someone else and kept secret, there's no way to know what it's doing or how it works. When someone else controls your software, you give them ultimate control over your computing.

How can we trust our technology?

We've seen the incredible advancements and social movements enabled by digital technology, but we must be mindful of its effects. Software ultimately leaves users at the mercy of the whoever owns it, but we don't have to give up freedom for progress. Software shouldn't work against its users for profit and control. You should own your software. You should be in control.

Using free software is the only way to guarantee that. By using free software, you gain autonomy over your own computing and are protected from the surveillance, monopolism, and other malicious features in non-free software.

What is free software?

Free software is a matter of liberty, not price. We mean free-as-in-freedom. Think of the word 'free' in "free association", not as in "free hugs".

Free software is defined by the freedom to use, study, change, and share it. These four freedoms give us control over our own computers and ensure that the technology we use isn't also taking advantage of us. Free software prevents the concentration of power into the hands of software giants and puts that power in the hands of the users. Why should we ever trust technology which runs on laws we cannot change, understand or even see?

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