“Free” software “is software that can be used, studied, and modified,” copied, changed with little or no restriction, and which can be copied and redistributed in modified or unmodified form. Free software is available gratis (free of charge) in most cases. “In practice, for software to be distributed as free software, the human-readable form of the program (the source code) must be made available” along “ with a notice granting the” user permission to further adapt the code and continue its redistribution for free. This notice either grants a “free software license”, or releases the source code into the public domain.
In the beginning, all software was free in the 1960s, when IBM and others sold the first large-scale computers, these machines came with software which was free. This software could be freely shared among users, The software came written in a programming language (source code available), and it could be improved and modified. Manufacturers were happy that people were writing software that made their machines useful. Then proprietary software dominated the software landscape as manufacturers removed access to the source code. IBM and others realized that most users couldn’t or didn’t want to “fix” their own software and There was money to be made in leasing or licensing software. By the mid-1970s almost all software was proprietary “Proprietary software is software that is owned by an individual or a company (usually the one that developed it). There are almost always major restrictions on its use, and its source code is almost always kept secret.” users were not allowed to redistribute it, source code is not available users cannot modify the programs. Software is an additional product that was for sale In 1980 US copyright law was modified to include software In late 1970s and early 1980s, two different groups started what became known as the open-source software movement: East coast, Richard Stallman (1985), formerly a programmer at the MIT AI Lab, launched the GNU Project and the Free Software Foundation. “to satisfy the need for and give the benefit of ‘software freedom’ to computer users ultimate goal of the GNU Project was to build a free operating system the GNU General Public License (GPL) was designed to ensure that the software produced by GNU will remain free, and to promote the production of more and more free software.