Free software

Free software (aka "open-source software") is software for which the author (copyright holder) grants users the freedom to use, study, copy, modify, and redistribute as-is or with modifications. This page discusses the ways in which the promotion of free software helps Org's digital rights work. Orgwiki uses the MediaWiki software which itself is free software.

How these freedoms benefit you

Everyone can directly use the freedoms to make copies and to distribute the software as-is. If you have some free software, you can make and give copies to anyone. Many modern forms of communication such as blogs, podcasts, micro-blogging, instant messaging, wikis, websites rely on software. Free software exists for all these tasks, so all these tools can be given to anyone.

To directly use the freedoms to study and modify, you need some expertise in software development. But, because everyone also has the freedom to distribute modified versions, everyone can benefit from the modifications made by other programmers. For example, there are hundreds of groups distributing different versions of the GNU/Linux operating system (Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora, gNewSense, etc.). If there was a version that didn't respect users' privacy, then the users could simply use one of the other versions. To keep their userbase, the software develops of each version have to avoid offending the users. Because of this, free software generally respect your rights.


Free software cannot contain Digital Restrictions Management (DRM). On an individual level, if you use free software, you can be sure that you won't face DRM restrictions. At the societal level, as the number of users of free software increases, the potential market share for sellers of DRM's goods decreases.

If you are a free software developer and wish to ensure your software will remain free from the introduction of DRM or "tivoization", consider using the GPL v3. See Why Upgrade to GPLv3 and the GPLv3 website.


Anyone can check exactly what the software does, so anti-privacy features can't be hidden in free software

Further, anyone can add privacy protecting features, so privacy protection is not limited by the business relationships that the software distributors have with search engines or other personal information sharing revenues.

Free speech

Because it can be redistributed without cost, software is accessible to more people - including software used for using free speech rights, blogging, podcasting, etc.

Open standards

The file formats and communication protocols used by free software can be read by everyone, so they are all Open Standards, and free software contributes to making existing open standards more accessible by providing a reusable source code implementation

External links