We’re a great believer in the benefits and principles of FOSS which is an acronym that combines both of these movements…
- Free Software, as defined by the Free Software Foundation.
- Open Source Software, as defined by the Open Source Initiative.
Any software that complies with both these definitions is Free and Open Source Software (FOSS). However the word “free” isn’t in reference to cost but rather to the below 4 freedoms afforded you, the user…
- Running the software for any purpose, it doesn’t matter who you are or what your aims are when running it.
- Study the source code both so you can learn from it and also if you wan to modify it so that it’ll do the things you need it to.
- Redistribute and share copies of the software freely to anyone who might want a copy.
- Improve the software and make those improvements public for everyone to benefit from.
As a byproduct, having the source code available with these rights also means there is usually a path allowing the software to be used without any cost. Additionally the ability to modify and improve parts of the software are invaluable both to our own projects and also to solving the problems that we aim to help our clients with, who are often non-profit themselves with little or no cash to spend on the problem.
A license (such as the GNU GPL license) applied to software grants these freedoms when it is released. Essentially it acts as a form of copyright (known as copyleft) that ensures the rights of the user as well as those of the author, such as attributing their work.
That said, we’re extremely appreciative of any software where (although it may not meet both definitions that make up FOSS) you can view the code and find solutions for bugs, perform security checks and so forth.
Any software that Function Office releases publicly is always released under a FOSS license. We also aim to educate where possible the advantages of FOSS over proprietary software and run projects such as the Staffordshire Linux User Group to encourage a local community of FOSS users to meet and share their knowledge.