Free and Open Source Software

This blog is about Free and Open Source Software, Free Knowledge, and Open Science. Today, I am going to talk about what I mean by Free and Open Source Software.

Free and Open Source Software is the software that guarantees you four basic freedoms as defined by the Free Software Foundation:

  • The freedom to run the program, for any purpose.
  • The freedom to study how the program works, and adapt it to your needs.
  • The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor.
  • The freedom to improve the program, and release your improvements to the public, so that the whole community benefits.

Let me give you an example to clarify how those freedoms work.

Imagine that you work in a bank (maybe you are the Manager). You like cooking but you do not do it for the money you do it just because you like it! One day, playing in your kitchen you developed a recipe that you think is really good. You decided to invite your friends for dinner to show them what a wonderful meal you made. Your friends liked the meal and asked you for the recipe. What should you do?

Well, because you liked your recipe so much, you decided to share it with them. Moreover, you give them the four freedoms we mentioned above:

First, you let them use the recipe for cooking for any occasion they wanted (wedding receptions, birthday parties, anniversary dinners, etc.).

Second, you let them study the recipe and adapt it to their preferences. So they can have their own special meal.

Third, you let them share the recipe with their friends so many more people benefit form it.

Fourth, you let them spice the recipe up and share those changes with the world. So everybody get to know how excellent your recipe is.

In conclusion, those freedoms are there to guarantee that everybody can have not just a meal but a terrific feast!

Talk to you soon


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4 Comments on “Free and Open Source Software”

  1. Caroline Says:

    Hey Lino,
    I loved the recipe analogy. I am buying the whole concept. In fact, I believe that we as human beings have not achieved as many great things as any would have expected twenty years ago just because we are all so busy reinventing the wheel all the time and trying to make a buck out of every single thing we can. Heck, we have created many ways to damage human life, but we have not even been able to cure half of the diseases that we could have if we had collaborated instead of going around making millions on sick people’s back.
    Ok.. without getting too emotional…
    I am sure there a many out there that, like us, want to be part of building a better world. And Open knowledge for me is a catalist for humanhood advancement.
    One thing bugs me though… Back to the analogy… I’d like to ask you, in your opinion, If I lived on my sole recipe, how could I share it and still make a decent sustainable living out of it?

    Looking forward to your answer,


  2. Lino Ramirez Says:

    Hi Caroline,

    Thanks for your comments. I completely agree with you that we have to embrace ways of collaborating to be able to advance technologically and as a society.
    About your question regarding on how you make a living out of your recipe given that you are sharing it with the world, well that is a very good question. In fact, I wrote an article about that, you can find it at


    It is in Spanish, though.

    Among the ways of making a living that I mention there, we have:
    1.- Asking for donations. There might be people interested in helping you continue developing excellent recipes.
    2.- Charging for providing technical support on the implementation of your recipe.
    3.- Charging for providing training on how to implement and/or use your recipe
    4.- Charging for providing certifications that ensure the world that the person using/implementing your recipe knows how to do it.
    5.- Charging for custom recipes that add vale to the recipe you give out for free
    6.- Charging for advertisement in the place where you give access to your recipe.

    I hope the answer helps

    Take care!


  3. Caroline Says:

    Hi Lino,
    I think you have good stuff in your free and open source educational software wiki.
    I know it is for a Venezuelan project, but you could get more input and help if it had a “mirror” in English. That would expand the reach and therefore the impact of this endeavor. What do you think?
    If you decide to have an English version, I’d like to volunteer to help with the translation (given I am not the only one 😉

    See you at the Linux Fest.



  4. Lino Ramirez Says:

    Hi Caroline,

    Thank you very much for your comment. I also think that translating some info I have in Spanish to English is a very good idea. If you are willing to do the translation, go ahead! I will really appreciate it.

    Take care!


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