free software

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free software (uncountable)

  1. (software) Software that can be freely copied, redistributed and modified, including source code; software that is libre.
    Synonyms: libre software, (rare) freedomware, (rare) libreware
    Near-synonym: open-source software
    Antonyms: proprietary software, non-free software
    • 1999, Chris DiBona, Sam Ockman, Mark Stone, editors, Open Sources: Voices from the Open Source Revolution, O'Reilly Media, page 173:
      [Richard Stallman's] work inspired many others to contribute free software under the GPL.
    • 2010, Jason van Gumster, Robert Shimonski, GIMP Bible, John Wiley & Sons, →ISBN, page 4:
      Simply put, Free Software is software that you can use, modify, and share with virtually no restrictions. Although it's often distributed free of charge—occasionally referred to as “free as in beer”—Free Software is not to be confused with “freeware.”
  2. (software) Any software that is free of charge, such as freeware.
    Synonym: freeware
    • 1984, Alfred Glossbrenner, How to Get Free Software [] , St. Martin's Press, →ISBN, page xvi:
      At the very least, good free software can reduce the total cost of entering the microworld. But it may also enable you to equip your system with more memory, more power, and more peripherals than you could afford if you had to sink hundreds of dollars into commercial programs.


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This article was originally based on material from FOLDOC, used with permission. Update as needed.