For people who want to learn or teach mathematics on the basis of reason …
The texts on FMTo
The term, though, is actually not all that clear and also covers, in
fact, a multitude of sins. So, in order to clarify what it means on FMTo, here is (part
of) the definition of Free
software as given by the Free
software is a matter of liberty, not price. To understand the concept,
you should think of “free” as in “free speech”, not as in “free beer”.
software is a matter of the users' freedom to run, copy, distribute,
study, change and improve the software. More precisely, it refers to
four kinds of freedom, for the users of the software:
- The freedom to run the program, for any purpose (freedom 0).
freedom to study how the program works, and adapt it to your needs
(freedom 1). Access to the source code is a precondition for this.
- The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your
neighbor (freedom 2).
freedom to improve the program, and release your improvements to the
public, so that the whole community benefits (freedom 3). Access to the
source code is a precondition for this.
The simplest way to make
a program free software is to put it in the public
uncopyrighted. This allows people to share the program and their
improvements, if they are so minded. But it also allows uncooperative
people to convert the program into proprietary
They can make changes, many or few, and distribute the result as a
proprietary product. People who receive the program in that modified
form do not have the freedom that the original author gave them; the
middleman has stripped it away.
So, the stuff is protected with what is called a copyleft.
This is done via a license
of which there are many different kinds. Morever, most licenses were
written for software. Eventually, though, a need
arose also to protect the documentation of the
software and other types of works.
"[The GNU Free
a license intended for use on copylefted free documentation. We plan to
adopt it for all GNU manuals. It is also suitable for other kinds of
useful works (such as textbooks and dictionaries, for instance). Its
applicability is not limited to textual works (“books”).
A copy of the FDL
will be found at the end of RBA as
well as in each one of the texts to be available on FMTo.