Free software community

The free software community is an informal term referring to the users and developers of free software as well as supporters of the free software movement. [Some examples showing that, and how, "free software community" is used:
*cite web
title=Building a free software community in a PC Garage

*cite web
title=Big challenges for the Free Software Community
quote=The “character” I like most about the free software community is that it is not afraid of setting itself audacious goals...
publisher=Mark Shuttleworth

*cite web
title=Sun 'distorts' definition of free software
quote=Sun's president Jonathan Schwartz has angered some in the free software community by appearing to misrepresent what open source is.

*cite web
title=The Free Software Community After 20 Years: With great but incomplete success, what now?
publisher=Free Software Foundation

*cite web
title=Debian Social Contract
quote=The Debian Free Software Guidelines (DFSG) ... has been adopted by the free software community

*cite web
title=Message to the Linux and Free Software Community Regarding the SCO Denial-of-Service Virus
publisher=Bruce Perens

*cite web
title=Let's reward corporations that embrace Free Software
quote=The Free Software community is without a doubt today an important part of the overall IT business ecosystem...
] The free software community is sometimes also called the "open-source community" [Example of the FS and OS terms being interchangeable:
*cite web
title=Announcement: "Free software" instead of "open source"!
quote=This site is about building a stronger community around free software movement and open source movement ... Both movements form the same community...
] . The Linux community is a subset of the free software community.


When the free software movement began in 1983, the community of users was mostly academics and computer programmers.

In the late 1990s, as free software became easier to use, many companies became users, distributors, and developers of free software.

Communication structure

Most communication is done over the Internet via mailing lists, wikis and forums, and some is done at conferences. This can also be seen in the widespread use of the collaborative software development model.

Well known websites which the free software community participate in are Slashdot, LWN, and Newsforge, although these are not exclusively used by the free software community.

Conferences include GUADEC, aKademy, FOSDEM, FISL, LinuxTag, and LinuxWorld Conference and Expo.

Recognisable characteristics

Some values which are nearly universal--as universal as values can be in a community of millions--are the preference for public discussion of technical matters, and opposition to software patents and parts of the DMCA. See software patents and free software.


Some arguments take on the fervor of "religious wars", such as the technical disputes from the 80s and early 90s over which text editor is better, Emacs or Vi/Vim, or even what "version" of a text editor is superior, GNU Emacs vs Xemacs.

Other conflicts exist over naming. These can occur because of differing opinions on historical accuracy, philosophical background or credit, such as the alternative terms for free software and the GNU/Linux naming controversy. And they can be caused by a conflict of business models and the use of trademarks, as is the case for the Naming conflict between Debian and Mozilla.

Companies entering the community

With the success of free software such as Linux, Apache HTTP Server, Mozilla Firefox, and, many companies have begun interacting with the free software community. Difficulties include the choice of free software licences, and the selection of what software will be released as free software.

An example of a relatively successful entry to the free software community is Sun Microsystems' July 19, 2000 release of the Star Office source code under the GNU Lesser General Public License and the successive development of on this foundation.Fact|date=February 2007 This move was warmly received by the community since it did not have a mature office suite at the time. Sun's use of the community's preferred licence was also welcome, because it allowed source code to be shared with other projects.

An example of a more difficult entry was that of Real Networks. Real Networks wrote their own licence, and released only parts of their software suite. Most notably, the codec—the software needed to view Real Video files—was not released.

See also

* Free software movement
* International Free Software Congress
* Wikipedia community
* Linux User Group


External links

* [ The Free Software Community After 20 Years] , by Richard Stallman
* [ International Workshop on Emerging Trends in FLOSS Research and Development] , 21 May 2007 - joined with ICSE 2007
* [ Debian related free software surveys]

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