Free software is not just software that costs nothing, it’s free for you to use, modify and distribute software in any way you like, thus giving you freedom over the software. In a way, it refers more to the human using the software than the software itself.
The Free Software Foundation defines free software as follows:
- The freedom to run the program, for any purpose (freedom 0).
- The freedom to study how the program works, and change it to make it do what you wish (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).
- The freedom to distribute copies of your modified versions to others (freedom 3). By doing this you can give the whole community a chance to benefit from your changes. Access to the source code is a precondition for this.
Stephen Fry talks about free software and the Free Software Foundation: