Open Ballot: Do you care about software freedom, or is it just because it's free?


It's time for another open ballot! This week, we want to know, why do you use free software? Is it because you think the values espoused by the four software freedoms are important in and of themselves, because you think its technically superior to the proprietary alternatives, or just because it's free? We're open to other possibilities too, so let us know what you think in the comments.

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Your comments

Yes and no. In that order.

Yes, I do care about software freedom and no, it's not just about free-as-in-beer for me. Where do you get this free beer anyway?

I don't use my freedom in terms of downloading source code and hacking it. For me, the freedom is that I can install a distro of my choice and then tweak it to fully suit my needs/whims. I suppose one example a lot of people will be familiar with over the past few months is Unity... Don't like it? Just grab XFCE from the repos. How easy/possible is it to install an entirely different desktop environment on a non-free system?

What ever works

I use it because I care, because it is free and because it is really good and a lot better the proprietary software in almost every case.
That doesn't mean that I don't use proprietary software but for my OS and many parts of my life I prefers an open alternative.
I try to use an open solution when ever I can but when I cant I will use a proprietary one because I have to. I am a pragmatist and I will use what gets the job done.

1. 'Free' is the key

1. 'Free' is the key word.

2. Free to use without corporate spying or prohibitions or limitations

3. Free meaning 'no cost'

4. Free for adaptation, exploration, improvement, borrowing, personal and commercial use

5. Free = responsive to users' requirements, suggestions and collaboration

Initially the latter, recently the former.

At the beginning, one of the major reasons for using free software in general was the fact that it was free (as in beer as well as in speech). Its quite simply very cost effective.

A lot of people cite lack of support etc, why propitiatory or non-free(as in price) software is popular, but for the general user who would not pay for support anyway, the support and vibrant community around most open source projects is more than enough.

As I have gone on in my use of the software, I find anything but open software feels restricted, it feels laboured and it feels downright wrong. With the exception of some software on the various app stores, propitiatory software is more difficult to source and download, while all my open source needs tend to be no more than an apt-get away.

The flexibility afforded by opensource is incredible, by this I do not mean the age old tale of modifying the source, a complete ludicrousness for the vast majority of users, but the various support and general options in open source tends to be far greater. If there is a problem, you may need to dig into config files, but generally a solution is there.

Also you may need a piece of software for a specific reason, generally you can find a tutorial for that very reason with a quick google.

In conclusion, although opensource may not hold your hand as much at the start, its hard to beat in terms of flexibility and I would say overall love for the product after a while using it.

I'm with Newky

I'd say Gratis is good but Libre is better


When I first got my PC I struggled with it. As a long time Unix hacker I wanted something better, and the Amiga (which the PC replaced) had a better CLI & WIMP interface. So I got myself a copy of Solaris x86 and due booted the PC - PC for games and Solaris for anything else.

So when I first tried Linux I did so for two reasons, 1) because it came at no cost, and 2) to see how Unix like it was.

I loved it, and as I got more involved I began to learn the power and importance of the freedom side of things. So I now claim to use Linux because for the freedoms is grants. But I think I should also say here that the no-cost aspect was a significant factor for me giving it a try in the first place.

I use Linux cos you meet a

I use Linux cos you meet a better class of people using it, I don't have to pay billionaires anything and I'm virtually virus free and secure.
I use it because all the people I have met that use it are friendly helpful and forgiving of my own stupidity.
I use it because it makes me happy.
Oh and I worship Tux ;-)

Yes and No. Mainly Yes

I do care about software freedom. Given the choice, I would used free software every time. Generally speaking I find that the quality of free software is better than closed software.

If I was to find a bug in and Adobe or Microsoft product (or any other off the shelf type product for that matter. What can I do about it? The process is very complicated and drawn out. I cannot just file a bug like I can with free software. Even if I do manage to file a bug, the chances of it being fixed and released quickly are about nil (excluding security issues maybe).

There are drawbacks to free software though. It isn't always possible to find a free equivalent piece of software that has all the same features as the non-free software.

For example...

The Gimp with CMYK support.
A Visio equivalent that can open and save in the Microsoft format.
A Project tool that can open and save in the Microsoft format.

Free beer

I use open source software because all the elements of freedom provide a lot of flexibility.

The fact that it costs nothing and is much less restricted on where/when/what you can use it for means that you can, for example, grab an ISO and install/recycle/recover your choice of hardware, as many times as you need to.

I see my computer as the equivalent of my Dad's shed. When I was young he would spend a weekend or two taking things apart, fixing bits, breaking other bits and then putting it back together in order to improve whatever it was or to do its job more efficiently. Open source software gives you that same freedom. Long live the freedom to tinker

Yes and No.

When I started using Linux (Ubuntu 9.04) it was mainly a financial decision, and to this day it still is. I understand there is a larger issue at work, but for someone like me on benefits (can't work due to ill health) free as in 'not paying for it' is very important and helpful in so many ways. Free as in freedom is another matter and one that I'm not sure I agree with completely.

So, to go back to when I started using Linux, I had no copy of Windows and I won't pirate, so a work mate told me about Linux/Ubuntu. I was a happy and guilt free user for a few years. I loved and embraced the free software world. But then cracks started to show and things got a bit iffy. Software that was needed for the family to do things wasn't available to me. My daughter's school homework wouldn't work as it should (Powerpoint stuff in Open/Libre Office is next to useless) My wife wanted to use Lovefilm, but of course, no Silverlight. My youngest daughter's VTech Innotab needed Windows to run and download software. I was happy with Free software, but the family weren't, so when the chance came to try the new Windows 8 beta I gave it a go. Wow! My eyes have been opened again after a few years of Windows bashing. Stuff works and the wife and kids are all happy. As much as I love Linux and the free software that goes with it, I may well pay for Windows 8 when it comes out as it's the only way to keep the whole family happy and to ensure that my daughter's school work can be done without fuss.

Not just software

I believe very strongly that knowledge should be freely available to everyone. I'll expand on that a little:

I'm a Christian, which I think has a bearing on this. I believe that God gave us a duty to take care of what we've been given, to learn and apply our knowledge in the best way we can. Knowledge and wisdom are highly praised in the Bible.

However, when companies (or individuals) obtain knowledge and then withhold it for personal gain, that really jars me. It doesn't feel right. In particular, I feel this applies to scientific research such as in the drug industry, and also to software.

It costs nothing to copy software (or any digital data), and so I believe it should cost nothing for someone to obtain a copy. I believe that knowledge should belong to mankind in general.

I think that people that work in these industries should be paid for the work they do: programming, the time spent in research and development, etc... I'm not an economist, so I'm afraid I can't offer a suggestion as to how to make this work in practice. I wish I could.

So that's my view on the ethics of Open Source software. You may also find it interesting that I'm not keen on copyleft licences, because of the restrictions they impose. Sadly, I have to concede that they're often necessary to avoid selfish people ruining open collaboration.

On the other hand, (and probably what got me started:) I also love Open Source Software because I can tinker endlessly, and it's just so much FUN!

Support and Compatablity

I don't use free software because its free, or because it promotes freedom but for the following reasons:

Support: This is the main reason, there is normally more support for free software as more play with it.

Compatablity1: Free software application are more likely to be available on other platforms meaning I don't have to convert the files.

Compatablity2: Also free application normally function the same regardless of the platform whereas propratory application often offer different functionality per platform.

GNU is not UNIX

What if Stallman didn't start the open source Free Software project GNU? No GNU tools, maybe no linux kernel (that's build with GNU compiler), maybe no apache server, maybe no android os (that uses linux kernel)....

these all are due to the free software principle


Software Freedom is very important to me. More and more do I make use of my freedom to download the source and hack it. Sure, that it's often gratis as well is nice too, that's one of the reasons I started using free software, but it has shifted for me to where price isn't my primary consideration.

I'm a software developer myself, everything I do in my spare time is always free, and so far gratis too, and I can't imagine myself doing it any other way.

I don't use it because it is technically more superior, it doesn't have to be, that depends on the project. I do feel somewhat safer with free software, because everything it does is out in the open and can be looked at by anyone.

I try to convince people around me as well, but not many people seem to be listening, mostly because they think it's hard to learn new things or because they think I'm a nut/hippie.

Simply Free

I use open source software only because it's free. I don't care about the source code, send bug reports, send code, nothing! I just use open source software because it costs me nothing.

Because it's free-ish.

When I was unemployed and a Windows update stopped my laptop from connecting to the Internet via a dia-up modem my only option (due to my financial situation) was to buy a copy of your excellent magazine and use the DVD to install Ubuntu (as it turned out I also needed to buy an external modem as Ubuntu didn't work with the built-in one).

Whilst I've nothing against the four software freedoms I certainly don't want to modify the software I use. I just want it to work!


I suppose having none free software is like buying a penknife without any blades in it and then having to buy extra blades from various types (but it's not a monopoly!) and THEN those same types say you can't use the flat head part of the hole punch to undo a screw - you need a different blade for that, but you can only use that blade for that purpose. And the blades are not interchangeable.

So yeah, I don't see why I should be able to use my penknife... computer the way I want AND use the tools I like. And maybe sharpen them a bit and give 'em out to good friends.


freedom of use, reuse, modify, improve, debug, simplifying ...

without freedom you get monopolies and no innovation but slavery of the millionaires

Free is just a feature and I don't care

I use it because it's the fastest way to get my hands on an absolute high quality software that fits my needs. After that, if I had to buy, donate, contribute or simply use it is a consequence.

It's obviously the best software model. Pay if it fits. Donate if it works. Contribute if you like it. And change if you will.

Software Freedom is the Key

If the software isn't under a open source license than any freedoms you have can be taken away. If a nasty corporation tries to take something over or change direction (I'm thinking of OpenOffice and MySQL here) people can take the existing code which is under a license like the GPL and fork the project. If something is free as in beer like for example Skype you don't have any guarantee of whats going to happen in the long run. Especially now Microsoft have bought Skype what's the development on Linux going to be like (it was never very good in the first place).

Come for the price, stay for the freedom

I do love the price. I love trying several programs out before committing to one. I love being able to move my data from one program to another. I love running it on as many machines as I like and being able to use well written modules as part of my own projects.

I have to admit that 90% of the time that is what counts. But 10% of the time I want to go deeper and I don't want restrictions put on me so I will upgrade or buy something else. It is not trying to stop me doing things (most of the time)

And sometimes it is the best. I script a little and the languages and frameworks are simply the best. And the documentation can be the best out there (python, php, django etc etc)

When I started using linux

When I started using linux it was just a cool new things to play around with, the freedom to do what I want with it kept it as the cool new thing I played around with exclusively for 3 years. The no cost is just an added bonus.
I have to add as I recently got back into computer based gaming, it's heck of a lot easier to see how I'm getting locked in. Be it steam or the asus specific parts that are needed to make my wireless to work as intended.

For me, because of the freedom.

I can tinker with my computer, I know how it works, and it's great being able to do absolutely anything I want with no barriers outside of my own knowledge. That doesn't apply to other people though.

If you don't understand and fear your computer, like so many of my fellow students sadly do, the promise of being able to tinker and modify your computer means nothing. Try explaining the benefits of being able to access source code to a 16-year old girl who doesn't even understand how the copy function on a Mac works. The only reason why Linux is a viable choice for the computer-illiterate masses is it's vastly superior price tag - free is pretty hard to beat. Even then, most people get their operating systems for free with their computers, and I only ever manage to make conversions when some poor sod hoses their hard drive and I "lose" the recovery CD. The freedom is great, but it's not much of a feature to anyone who isn't initiated into the computer world.

I care about software freedom

One of the last places you and I can tinker with something we "own". I can do with it as I please and share it with others who find it useful enough to use. I find it despicable that we cannot buy a computer with no OS cheaper than one with a proprietary system. The need for support creates a market for proprietary software and I agree with the idea. What I don't agree with is patents that don't permit you and I to think of something, create it in the basement and share the outcome with others on the planet.

free vs freedom

For me it's free first, freedom second. I went to linux because I couldn't be bothered cracking proprietary software to use it for free.

Saying that, I will not buy apple, sony or microsoft products, whether they are better or cheaper (doubtful) than their competitors.

Quality from the ecosystem

For me, the model of many eyes on the software, collaborating to quickly find and solve problems, beats the closed (self-blinded) approach to software development. That translates to better quality, faster improvements, more security, and more innovation.

Secondly, free as in libre is very important to me. I like choosing and tweaking my own distro, so that I'm as efficient and productive as I want to be.

Free as in gratis is nice too, but third in importance to me.

Free = Trust

For me, I largely look for free software solutions because I trust it more.

Sure, my effective contribution rate to most of the projects I make use of is zero, but I feel much more comfortable knowing that the projects I build my workflows around will practically be around forever once they've been pushed to github. While Microsoft XP can give lots of free software a run for it's money in terms of longevity, I still feel more comfortable knowing that the code I use is open, and in some sense MINE, as opposed to being in entirely someone else's control.

Don't like the way Facebook/Twitter/Basecamp/Office/Windows/OSX re-did their interface for the thousandth time? Maybe you should invest some time and energy in something you can actually influence.

"Free" software is an investment

"Free" software is a valuable investment, as many studies of the (theoretical) development cost of open-source software have shown. Participation in creating and maintaining free software is one important area in retaining freedom.

If all hospitals and government departments were obliged to use non-proprietary, open standards and to permit open-source bids, then a large amount of development waste might be avoided.

The open health-related projects to which I have contributed have been incredibly successful, and continue to be successful whilst many generations of private bids have failed in succession. They have succeeded as academic projects, whilst open-source bids for operational projects are consistently barred by the NHS.

Free gets away from the broken corporate model

I've worked in "big business" for decades. There is a very broken model of making terrible software and finding any way to pimp and sell it as if it is going to save the world. Sometimes it is good, sometimes it is just rubbish that has a great sales pitch.

I find that free software tends to be more purpose built and created for more genuine reasons (e.g., actually wanting to make a good game, not just one that will sell based on anticipation and hype).

I love the try-before-I-buy model. I have paid for "free" software that requests donations or has a pay-for version. I think freemium MMORPGs end up having a good model that more software should adopt. The ultimate proof in the pudding is whether or not it is good and if people buy it to get the locked content (or even just support which includes updates). While that might mean that every piece of running software out there didn't generate a company money, it should also be a big indicator as to what kind of gap they need to close in order to entice the non paying users.


Yes, I care about software freedom.

I use it because it represents a better way for humans to interact. Openly sharing our creative endeavours and not trying to control, protect and restrict them seems a better and healthier way to engage with culture. For both the things we create and the people involved.

Generally I don't think the free price is a factor. In my experience people (home users) will routinely pirate what they can't afford or don't want to pay for. I'm sure this is more important (and more complex) on the enterprise side.

Linux is not 'technically better' in terms of my day-to-day desktop use (as a 'creative professional'). It's better under the hood, sure. But in terms of the availability of the creative software (and decent desktop software in general) I need to use and general desktop polish it's still lacking. Better than ever, but still lacking. It's flexible, powerful but still disappointingly ugly*.

It's still preferable for me though because the moral side matters more to me. And because I enjoy that power and flexibility a lot.

[* I know it has lots of eye candy and can be themed to look like whatever and etc. etc. but some of the default design decisions and just general lack of aesthetic polish are shocking. Everything from colours to... things just not looking thought out. Like all the elements are nicely drawn, that's a good start, but then they're scattered randomly across the screen. Nothing lines up with anything else, there's no harmony to the layout of things. Weird usability details, things not communicating, visually, how they're going to behave, what they can do. That sort of thing.]

I needed freedom

I started using free software after studying at university where it was required to learn proprietary software. I grew tired of LE (limited) versions of software and being dictated to by huge companies. At that point I knew nothing of free software, but my search for an alternative lead me to GNU/Linux.

Through free software I have learned about freedom, and in doing so become free myself.

"Quote Brave Heart"

A paying customer speaks

As I have paid for various things Linuxy in the past, such as SuSE releases and being a member of the erstwhile Mandrake Club (as well as paying for some of their releases), it isn't so much the money aspect of it that bothers me. It's more that for little or no financial contribution I can try out and use a vast range of software that doesn't nag me about paying for it. It's also personal, software made by people who are committed and care, rather that some profit-driven corporation who don't care once they have got your money.
One can, of course, often contribute some money to projects one finds especially useful.
The freedom thing manifests mostly, for me, in the feeling of not being tied down, I've changed Linux distros a few times over the years without too much hassle. I don't recall being offered anything by Apple as alternative to the disappointing Lion, except to carry out an unsupported downgrade which restricts my choices within that walled garden of theirs.
I suppose I would say that it is the possibilities that are opened up and exploited by a vast array of developers that makes FLOSS the better choice.

Freedom is increasingly important

When I first started using Linux (Ubuntu 8.04) it was purely out of frustration with Windows Vista. Then I came across a news article about Ubuntu and thought it would give it a go, first as a live CD, then as dual boot and finally as my sole OS.

Initially, the attraction was financial. I would not have given Ubuntu a try if there had been a cost. To be honest, I didn't really have a clue about FOSS at the time but quickly came to understand and support the concept. I recently bought a replacement netbook and decided to keep Windows Starter installed for the odd gadget which doesn't play nicely with Linux. The amount of dross that had been pre-installed was astonishing and came as a shock as I had not used Windows at home for several years.

In the last couple of years the importance of freedom has increasingly relevant. Contrast open source software with its choice, the ability to fork projects and general lack of privacy invasion with the world of smartphones and tablets. Apps routinely seek permissions not needed for their functionality but to identify the user and access data. The US and EU appear finally to be waking up to the danger, but it could well be too little, too late.

Eyeballs matter...

Back in the olden days when I still used to reinstall Windows ME on a monthly basis to get it to do basic functions, I installed a firewall application and was shocked to see what went on - every piece of MS Software I had installed wanted to connect to the internet all the time! I have no idea why MS Word needs to connect to some MS server every 10 minutes or so, but it feels slightly dodgy. With free software I am sure that someone intelligent enough (not me) would be able to look into the source code and tell me what is going on.


1. I use whatever software fits my needs, whether it be proprietary or open-source.

2. Cost is definitely an issue as I am still a student and cannot afford to buy the really expensive software, though not an issue for software costing say $10 or $20.

3. In terms of freedom, I think I dont really care about the "freedom" that Stallman talks about but I do prefer freedom in terms of software maker respecting my privacy, not installing trojans, providing an easy uninstaller, not enforcing very restrictive DRM schemes etc. Many proprietary software (especially from smaller vendors) do this so I am fine with that.

4. I would like to point out that you did not mention one very important consideration in your question: Community. I think the part that I like the most about open-source software is the community that often forms around it. Users are typically very helpful, and one can often get in touch with devs directly.

5. Finally, learning has also been an important motivator for me. I am a programmer, and have contributed to some open-source projects and have found that to be a great learning experience.


Up until 2006, I'd never heard of free (as in freedom) software. I was, of course, aware of Public Domain and Shareware, but this was the extent of my knowledge.

In 2006 I read an article in an international affairs magazine entitled "free software", and read with interest about how software such as Mozilla Firefox, and Ubuntu were lowering the entry-level to modern computing in developing countries. It was completely fascinating, and it took me on a search across the net for the same software I was reading about.

Now, I admit, for purely selfish and monetary reasons, I started to try out some Linux distros, and when I discovered they came jam-packed with awesome software and looked better than Windows XP, I started the very slow migration over to Linux OS, culminating last year, with the purchase of a new system that only runs Linux.

However, since I have learned a thing or two about the free software I was using, I came to appreciate the rich and talented user and developer base that the software came from. The power to create, then share, and then improve software, purely for the love of it and benefit of all sounded like the way I'd like the rest of the world to work. Some software projects that I liked have benefited in some small way from my donations, others through simply using and supporting the projects.

I think that proprietary software - or at least closed-source software - is a problem. I do reluctantly use it when necessary e.g. music and video codecs, but on the whole prefer to use "free" where possible, because it makes me feel better about myself. I'd like to think I'm an honest, open kinda guy, and for me, free software is my equivalent. It's a way of life.

Simply too Important

I use Open Source because I believe that now and in the future, software is simply too important to be left in the control of corporate organisations. If we lose the OS option, we will have pretty much lost control of a huge chunk of human interaction.

For me it's more of the atmosphere around free software

I love being able to submit a bug report and actually see how it's progressing with actual developers commenting. I love the extensive and clear logs that makes troubleshooting much easier. A lot more similar bullet-points add up to make it awesome.

Cost is not really an issue as Microsoft is throwing licenses for everything(except office) that they sell for students in my university, probably in a hope we get hooked for life.

free then freedom.

If you are studying networking and servers like I am and you want to run labs it will cost you alot of money. My college provides all the microsoft servers in a download and key for access. After learning 2003 server and 2008 r2 server and share point server I can say that I will take Linux any day of the week. Every time I want to run somethin like sql server I have to relearn a new gui interface that will change in time. I like the linux servers config files and admin, I can write commands to script the servers. This is free at first then the freedom to use a system the way I want to use it. Now as I dig deeper the CHOICES I have are astounding ! This freedom to pick and choose and under stand what is going on is making me take my lpic exams next month.

Both but Freedom more

I begun to use Linux twelve years ago because it didn't cost me anything to take a disk and play with it on my PC. The free in Free Software, likewise has alwasy appealed to me.

But why I stayed with Linux is because of the freedom it offeres me. If I want to dig into the crevices of the OS and play with it, even break it, I not only can but am encouraged to do so. If I do break it I don't get a TOS or EULA thrown in my face there is only the social promise that if I do something that works better to share that discovery with the community. That is why I love Free Software rather than just use it.

Software Freedom

I love software freedom with Linux because.....

1. I know what i am using is trustworthy and easy to modify to my needs.

2. Is not controlled by a big Corporation who require my soul in return for running it.

3. It does what says on the tin.

Freedom Evangelist

Of course software freedom is a virtue and the RMS position is an ideal. But we live in the real world without the celebrity beard luxury of saying "No. No. And thrice NO!". Enjoy the freedoms we have. Extend them where possible. Use the advantages of free to convince the ignorant and uncaring that free is good.

BTW, your captcha is crap: Cue Fab and the big red button!

A spirtual awakening

When I first heard about Linux (Cryptonomicon, Neal Stepenson) It sounded as though it could be technically superior to the operating system I was using but far to scarry and difficult for me.
I used a lot of supposedly expensive software that didn't cost me anything becuase I obtained it in what I now understand to be violation of the license, but at the time I misunderstood. I can describe what I was doing as stealing because that was my intention and understanding. Although I do not, now percive the violation of propeterary software licenses as stealing, whatever I was doing was wrong because of my intent.
I began experimenting with Linux purely because I became frustrated with the technical shortcomings of my operating system, particularly the high hardware requirements and security problems.
My first experience of Linux (Ubuntu 8.04) was underwhelming. I couldnt get the damn thing to boot to a grahpical enviroment due to my unsupported graphics hardware. Howver I perservered and eventually began to enjoy the advantages of Linux software.
From this entirely selfish standoint I became aware of the politics of Free Software and now I'm comletely turned around on the subject.
Today for myself features play second fiddle to freedom as defined by the FSF fortunately I can have both. The altruistic actions of free software developers have inspired me to leave my profession and study formally for the first time in my life, in order that I may better contribute my effort and time to this fine movement.
Although It would be ridiculous to attribute spirtual awakening to Free software it has provided a fasinating and fun focus for my newly found wish to share with my fellow human.

Whatever works

I stopped using Microsoft when they wanted to charge me an extra £60+ when my copy of XP ceased to authenticate; evidently they didn't like me modifying my computer! I then went to openSUSE and all applications I needed came with it.

Since then I have gone to Mint and now am running the new SolusOS (which incidentally is a very good distribution using Gnome 2.3). The only problem I have had in all this time is running my scanner, from Benq and Sane just wouldn't work with it. A piece of proprietary software called VueScan has now come to the rescue, providing scanning up to the maximum capabilities of the scanner.

So, if it free (as in beer or liberty) I will use it but, I will also buy in if nothing else will do the trick.

By the way, it may only be at RC3 but SolusOS is really good and worth a look at if you still hanker after Gnome 2.3 and a stable desktop.


Freedom is the key word. I hate the nit picking EULA 's that come with every piece of proprietary software. I hate the fact that I cannot use the software as I please on as many of my own computers as I need. I dislike having to keep a huge file of software licenses and activation codes. I also fear the insecurity of proprietary (read "windows")OS's.

Open source software offers the freedom that we should all have as users but it should not just be used. Contributions should be made to encourage future development and to reward the efforts and training of the developers. I intend to do that when I am able to make a switch away from closed source (or as much as possible).


Humans own nothing. Just the states are owners. Businesses and humans have rights to use , inherit and sell their so called property. But your "property" stops being your's as soon as you don't pay your taxes. Your body is the states property as well .. the state decides what you can and can't do with your body and/or property .. you are owned .

Open software is great and yes it does provide some rights that proprietary software has taken away from it's users ... but to exert a right you first need to know that you have it and then you need to be able to exert it. So how is open source software ,freedom enabling, to a non programmer ? It's like saying to a parallelized man that he has the right to walk , but he can't , it ain't helping him and not having that right won't take anything from him. To me the main benefit of open source software is that it's free ... but that doesn't set it apart from proprietary which can also be free . This "cheapness" enables many people to work and create things for free and that is a huge win.
I live in Romania and here most computers run Windows ... Cracked windows.

To conclude.
I think free and open source software is a great tool to free our selfs . But as a community we need to do a lot more because people don't care about freedoms ... any freedoms .... people are lazy ... people are selfish ... greedy .. and most importantly irresponsible and will throw the burden of anything on someone's else without thinking one bit.

My question to the community is : Do you care about freedom or only software freedom ?

I'm running Ubuntu now and i converted my dad to Ubuntu also but i won't refuse to use proprietary software when the situation demands it.

Number one is just that I

Number one is just that I attempt to refuse to use anything branded Microsoft, Google, Apple, or Facebook, due to privacy and security issues, and of course that they are mostly just bad companies. Have you heard the things they admit! They often, deep in their Terms of Service, explain what truly happens to your data. Number two, however is freedom. I would be willing to pay for software often, but the GPL causes some issues with this. Recently, I have actually been writing my own Free as in Freedom license that will be more selling-friendly. I'd love to hear others input and suggestions on this. And ideas for the name... Private Freedom License (PFL)... what else.... the acronyms are endless!

I moved first because it saved me a packet but...

...Once you start to grasp the concept of freedom you start thinking a little bit harder about all of the other freedoms you've cheerfully given up without even realising it. It makes you think just a bit harder about everything - not just software and not just IT.

It's a difficult concept to get your head around and I think we'd all benefit from a few more simple to grasp examples.

Perhaps one day, the likes of Apple, Amazon, Microsoft etc. will be viewed the same way slave traders are today. Or perhaps not - DRM'd eBooks might be the end of our recorded history...

The "you paid for it but you don't own it" EULA

we have "granted" you a license to use this product until we decide otherwise. inability to transfer data from an old version to a recent one unless you go back and purchase all intermediate upgrades. academic version $60, exact same version for you $600. by accepting this license you agree to these 12 pages of limitations to your rights but agree to hold us entirely blameless for absolutely anything. buggy "betaware" sold at full retail price can only be returned for exchange with same product. you have upgraded your hardware, you must re-authenticate your software. install disc is damaged must repurchase at full price. must connect to internet to activate. valid on only one device, can not be transfered. you are an evil criminal and we must encumber you with digital chains for our own protection.

I first started using linux

I first started using linux in 2000. I was overjoyed to find out that I could set it up the way I wanted to use it. I kept dual-booting up until 2009, when Windows choked on an update for about the third time. Now, I not only use linux only and the applications that work with it, I will never buy another computer with Windows on it.

The freedom aspect has gradually grown more important with time, as I learn more about it. The freedom to read and if wanted, change the code is important. I am not a good programmer, but can read and understand most of it.

I now tend to look at new gadgets more for what they won't do than what they will do. Thus the e-readers don't hold much appeal to me, since none of them allow me to obtain books from any source that I would like to use. Until this changes, I will not be buying one, since I don't plan to live in a walled garden.

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