Re: GNOME and the free software movement

Your message provides a clear example of the need to spread awareness
of the issues of software freedom, even inside our community.  Many
hackers come to appreciate free programs for practical reasons, and
even contribute to their development, without appreciating freedom.

    What freedoms exactly?

See for the list of the
four freedoms.

    The computer users I know can't code. What are they
    going to with the source code they have the freedom to

It is a basic logical error to argue that certain freedom is
unimportant on the grounds that there are people who don't appreciate
it or don't know how to exercize it.

Free software refers to four freedoms that work together.  All users
can exercize freedoms 0 and 2, the freedom to run the program and the
freedom to distribute copies.  These activities do not require
programming skill.

Freedoms 1 and 3, the freedom to study and change the source and the
freedom to distribute modified versions, involve programming.  People
can exercise them only to the extent of their programming skill.  But
when others change the program and release a modified version, you can
then install it if you think it is better, even if you don't know how
to program.

The result of the four freedoms is that the users are in control of
what the program does.  Free software develops democratically under
the control of its users.  Non-free software is under the control of
its developer, who has power over the users.

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