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Free Open Source Software

The English word “free” has at least two meanings:

  • No cost, no payment required, given freely and without obligation.
  • Liberty, openness, freedom, opportunity

The concept of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) implies both of these meanings. ToDoList is provided at no cost. The source code is also open for anyone to take, view, and modify. While the software is “free”, FOSS authors provide their software with a license, to protect themselves, and to set expectations for how the software is used and distributed. ToDoList is provided with the The Eclipse Public License 1.0. Please ensure that your usage is within the terms of this license.

There are many reasons for open-sourcing software.

  • To allow people an opportunity to check it for issues and to report bugs.
  • To allow companies to ensure that the software does not have any hidden tricks or hacks. While the software is available as an executable for average users, a company might want to compile the source themselves and distribute their own version to employees.
  • The software is freely provided to the public so that other developers can learn from it and improve their own coding.
  • The code is available for other developers to modify and donate improvements back to the author for possible inclusion back into the base software.

FOSS is a community-oriented concept. One does not need to be a programmer to contribute to FOSS. As a developer freely gives software for others to use, there is an implied request that users will provide comments to help the author to improve the software for everyone to benefit. With feedback from the field, the author continues to update the software and we all get periodic new releases.

So while there is no obligation to provide feedback, it is in the community spirit to do so. To “give back” as a Thank You for your free software, the author welcomes you to share your comments about how you use it. You can tell him whenever you find a problem. You can tell him your ideas for making it better. You can tell him what you like and what you use the most. As you come to use the software more and develop a personal expertise, you can answer questions that other people have, and help them to use the software better. And you can encourage others to use the software - family, friends, and business associates.

free-open-source-software.1472727190.txt.gz · Last modified: 2016/10/10 21:40 (external edit)