The free software It comprises the set of computer programming that can be used for any purpose, which especially includes adapting them to the individual needs of users, as well as the possibility of redistributing and eventually improving them. For instance: Ares, Mozilla Firefox, Moodle.
The idea of free software is relatively new and it is very interesting, because it brings to light a subject in permanent debate, which is the social value of a product fruit of the intellectual capacity of one or more people, added to other resources.
In a certain way, computing thus joins a set of disciplines (such as biotechnology or genetics) in which the transfer to the community of what is generated becomes a delicate social and economic issue.
It is important to note that the software freedom It does not have to do with gratuitousness, nor with free access, but with a rather philosophical question, which conceives the user as a fundamental protagonist of what happens on the Internet and its evolution, assuming that software always involves knowledge that should not be prohibited to any of its potential users.
Advantages of free software
The totally opposite position to that of free software is that of proprietary software, that is, those developments on which rights are retained, with the restriction for the user to use it ‘as is’.
In practice, the central issue of free software is that this type of software allows the access to source code, and thanks to this it is that it offers freedom and possibility to modify it, study it and adapt it to the new needs that may appear. It is clear, then, that free software that is free but does not offer the source code is not considered free software.
It is to be expected that with the possibility of accessing the source code, a feedback correction dynamics by the user himself, without the need to be waiting for the official ‘new version’ of a company, as is the case with many other programs. This is the big bet made by the idea of free software: the technical and economic advantages of a progress that is not powered only by a few heads within a corporation, but by the whole of society.
Many people linked to the world of programming have become partisans and sometimes even ‘militants‘of free software. From this point of view, it is understood that this type of program is the only one that fully respects the freedom of the user, and that the usual terms in the Copyright structures that support the type of proprietary software mean a certain deprivation of the users’ rights, obviously, in protection of the expected return on investments that are often millionaire.
This is why the free software movement created a legal mechanism known as ‘Copyleft’ license, in which they provide the way in which free software can be distributed. In this way, before accepting the ‘terms and conditions’, the user is warned of it. Many countries have already begun to legislate on the use and distribution of free software.
Examples of free software
Twenty-five free software applications are listed below, as an example, several of which have become very popular:
- Ares. P2P type program (peer to peer) to search for and download all types of files from the Web, even from multiple sources (which will be possible if the file is shared simultaneously by multiple users), thus reducing download time.
- Mozilla Firefox. It is a browser with numerous functionalities and the possibility of customization, its ability to protect the user’s private life is usually especially valued.
- Apache Open Office. Package that offers various tools, including word processing, spreadsheets, graphic presentations, and databases.
- Clam Win Free Antivirus. As its name implies, it is an efficient antivirus program that is constantly updated; It has more than 600,000 users per day in the world.
- Moodle. It is widely used in the field of education, since it allows ‘uploading’ various content (videos, images, texts), including communication and networking or taking online exams.
- Vuze (formerly Azureus). It is similar to Ares in its foundation and mode of use, it is used to download files of different kinds (audio, video, etc.) in peer to peer mode using the BitTorrent mechanism.
- JBoss. It is a runtime platform used to build and implement transactional applications and services based on the Java language.
- net. Specially dedicated to digital photo processing.
- Gallery. It is a program that is used to organize photo albums in a simple and intuitive way.
- Qcad. It is an application for computer aided technical drawing (CAD) in two dimensions. Very useful for engineers, architects, decorators. It is compatible with Windows, Mac OS X and Linux.
- Notepad ++. It is an editing program that allows you to make quick notes and that works with the C ++ language.
- Emulate. Similar to Vuze or Ares, it allows you to find and download different audio, video and document files in general. It is a P2P type program.
- Spybot – Search & Destroy. It is a program that prevents malicious software from entering the computer, which could act as a ‘spy’.
- 7-Zip. It is a highly efficient file compression program.
- Audacity. It is a program for recording and editing audio from different sources, which also serves for the post-processing of audio files.
- FreeBSD. It is a free access Unix-like operating system, it was very popular before the arrival of Linux.
- JDownloader. It is an open platform written in Java, it simplifies the download of files from servers such as Rapidshare or Megaupload. It offers multiple parallel downloads and captcha recognition.
- Elgg 1.12.2. Platform to create social networks and blogs based on PHP and MySQL.
- WordPress. It is also used for the publication of blogs and databases.
- Avogadro 1.1.1. Molecule editor oriented to computer chemistry, bioinformatics, molecule modeling and related areas.
- K-Sketch. It is an editor of informal animations; with versions available for mobile platforms.
- Clip Art Library. Collection of images that can be used and modified freely.
- GenealogyJ. Genealogical data editor, allows you to create different kinds of reports from individual data. Works with Java language.
- Marble. Atlas and virtual globe that offers different maps and projections.
- Caliber. Electronic book management program, allows you to organize book collections and convert books to various formats, such as to be read, for example, as ebooks.