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Saturday, July 8, 2017

A world without Free Software

I have mentioned multiple times in my previous blogs that the term Free Software stands for Freedom and not necessary zero cost software. In late 1970s and early 1980s when proprietary software was taking over Richard Stallman was not happy with the situation and started the GNU project in 1983. To build a Unix like operating system. At that time UNIX was not a free operating system. 

Two years later he started the Free Software Foundation, to support the free software movement, it promotes study, distribution, modification and creation of software that is free. 

Had the GNU project and FSF not been started the world of Computer Software would have been much different from what it is today. Many of you in India, China and in the developing world who are reading this blog know that most of the computer users in these countries use the software without paying for it. Most of you windows users in this countries never payed for the copy of Windows and the MS office installed on most of the home systems are pirated. 

However with GNU/LINUX the users have an option, but due to marketing of Microsoft and ignorance of most users software like GNU/LINUX and LibreOffice remain unused. Had there been no Free Software Movement, the GNU/LINUX, OpenOffice, LibreOffice, GIMP etc won't have come into existence as a result users would have to be dependent on Windows, MS Office, Photoshop. However in absence of option the developers of the software would have place strong software locks in the software and would have made it almost impossible for users to use the software without paying for it. So if you are able to use a pirated copy of Windows, MS office or photoshop it is all due the existence of GNU/LINUX, LibreOffice and GIMP. 

There would have been far lesser innovation in the consumer and business software space. Since the number of coders who would have contributed to the code of your software would have been limited by the companies that develop the software. 

You entire computing experience would have cost you much more. You probably won't have had Android, Sailfish, Ubuntu touch, Firefox like mobile operating systems till now. The world of computer software would have been very very boring.