Free Software Directory reaches 4,000 packages
The Directory, which accounts for more than 40% of the traffic on the FSF's Web site (receiving 2.25 million hits per month, an average of 321K per day), has grown and improved steadily in the past year: one year ago, the Directory had 3153 packages; it now has 4,029. The Web form, which lets developers enter packages themselves, has been refined and expanded.
The category structure has undergone a fourth revision to reflect the increasing depth of free software packages available. Mathematics, formerly part of the Science category, is now on its own, while the Science category itself has deepened considerably: there are now 11 subcategories under Science, including Artificial Intelligence, Meteorology, and Genetics. The size and depth of the Science category reflects free software's popularity in academia.
The variety of real-world applications of free software also increased greatly: there are now enough fax-related, barcoding, and e-commerce software for them to have their own categories. Moreover, you can now run the following businesses with free software: an ISP, an animal shelter, a medical practice, a travel agency, an Internet cafe, a real estate office, an alternative energy company, a pizza parlor, a winery, a library, a bookstore, a search-and-rescue team, and a full service restaurant.
Free software is increasingly being used in creative fields. 'CinePaint' is an image retouching software that has been used in the production of (among others) Harry Potter, Scooby-Doo, and Stuart Little. 'diskWriggler' is a newer package intended as a benchmarking tool in film and post-production.
Individual video and multimedia artists are also using free software, and many of them are writing their own tools. 'LiVes' and 'veejay' are popular free software video editors; 'FreeJ', 'MoB', 'EffecTV', 'PureData', 'piksel', and 'PiDiP' are tools for working with video and creating various effects.
The recognition the Directory has received has also increased. It was profiled on lwn.net on August 25, 2004 [http://lwn.net/Articles/97521/]. At the FSF's first annual members' meeting, in March 2003, Richard Stallman, President of the FSF, named the Directory as his first choice of the two most important projects the FSF had undertaken in the past five years. Almost 90% of the packages in the Directory are licensed under the FSF's own GPL or LGPL licenses.
The continuously rising number of packages in the Directory is proof that usable, productive free software exists for a variety of business, personal, and artistic contexts and can be found at http://directory.fsf.org/.
About the Free Software Foundation: The Free Software Foundation, founded in 1985, is dedicated to promoting computer users' right to use, study, copy, modify, and redistribute computer programs. The FSF promotes the development and use of free (as in freedom) software - particularly the GNU operating system and its GNU/Linux variants - and free documentation for free software. The FSF also helps to spread awareness of the ethical and political issues of freedom in the use of software. Their Web site, located at www.fsf.org, is an important source of information about GNU/Linux. They are headquartered in Boston, MA, USA.