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Updating the Free Software Definition

by Brett Smith Contributions Published on Dec 10, 2008 04:40 PM

Yesterday, we made some changes to the Free Software Definition to help clarify a few points that had been confusing for people in the past. Because this definition is the benchmark we use to decide whether or not a license is free, we want it to be as easy as possible for people to understand, and over the years we've regularly made changes to the text that do that. Whether we're updating the definition to respond to confusion brought on by specific issues, or simply explaining an issue more clearly, we want to make sure that the definition is both consistent in its principles and relevant to software users.

In order to help people understand the purpose of these changes, we also added a History section to the document. This section provides a brief summary of every substantial change we've made to the Definition since we started keeping it in CVS back in 2001. We also provide links that show you exactly what text changed. You can even get this information for every change we've ever made. If you want to see how the Free Software Definition has addressed different issues over the years—whether that's because you have questions, want a sort of history lesson, or are just curious—I encourage you to check it out.

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