Today is Software Freedom Day, a day when we celebrate the freedom of free software for its own sake, relishing in the community we’ve built around sharing and treating each other as partners. Free software is software that respects the user’s freedom to run, share, inspect, and modify the program for any purpose at any time. You don’t have to do these things, they’re permissions not commands, but (like freedom of speech) you miss the freedoms when they’re absent. The price of the software is not the central issue despite that the freedom to share the software means you can often get free software for free (yes, English uses the same word for both price and permission). You never know when you’ll need the freedoms of free software, so it’s good to have these freedoms all the time for all of your software.
So here’s hoping you’ll install and use more free software! What programs could you use? There are too many free software programs to mention them all, but you can visit the FSF/UNESCO Free Software Directory or try these favorites of mine (which happen to be on my computer as I type this):
- Firefox & Thunderbird—a great web browser and email program. If you’re distributing modified versions of these programs you’ll probably be more interested in working with the IceWeasel and IceDove derivatives which don’t carry Mozilla’s restrictive trademark license or the non-free crash reporter program “Talkback” (one can easily uninstall this from Firefox and Thunderbird as well by going to the Tools menu and picking Add-ons then finding the Talkback add-on and clicking its “Uninstall” button and restarting Firefox or Thunderbird).
- The GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program)—my preferred bitmap image editing program
- Inkscape—my preferred vector image editing program
- BZFlag—a great shoot-em-up tank game you can play online or solo
- VideoLAN Client—a nice all-in-one media player
- Rhythmbox—a fairly simple audio player you can use to share music as well
- gNewSense GNU/Linux—a free software operating system
- Fedora GNU/Linux—a free software operating system (tends to carry more up-to-date software than gNewSense)
- K3B—CD/DVD burning and copying software
- Frozen Bubble—a very addictive game you can play over a network or solo. I hear an operating system release was delayed due to the developers getting hooked on this game.