Free Software spectrum

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Back to Senior Seminar 2008

This page is for listing out the various spectrums related to Free Software. Feel free to add other spectrums other than the ones I have now.


  • The Beginning Pre 1960? Everything was shared
  • Present Day Open Source is a major force in the industry. Free Software is still working behind the scenes but is mostly overshadowed.


I haven't added links to examples or explanations yet but other people can if they know of an example.

  • Public Domain Public Domain works are un-copyrighted works. This means that either it was never copyrighted in the first place or the copyright was removed for some reason. Possible reasons include copyright expiration or the author voluntarily giving up their copyright.
  • Permissively Licensed These are works that are copyrighted by whose authors give free or mostly free use to everyone. The BSD and MIT licenses are examples of this.
  • Copyleft These are works that have licenses that give free use to everyone except that authors of derivative works must license their derivative works under similar terms. This is the preferred style of Free Software because it forces authors that want to use Free Software to also make their work Free Software, thereby increasing the amount of Free Software in the world. The GPL is an example of this.
  • Shared Source These works allow one to study and reproduce the work but not to distribute derived works.
  • Published Unlicensed These works are published but don't give 3rd parties the rights to reproduce them or any derived works. This can happen accidentally if one publishes work with conflicting licenses.
  • Freeware These are works that are published only in binary form but give permission to free distributed the binary.
  • Proprietary These works are published only in binary form and without license to copy. Most commercial software is of this type.
  • Remotely Accessible These are works that aren't even published in binary form. The only allow use through a remote interface. In terms of copyright this is the same as unpublished but is different in other ways. Web sites or other network applications are examples of this.
  • Unpublished These are works that aren't accessible or distributed in any way to the general public. Internal software is of this type. For example, The Google linux distribution.

--Edlefma 11:33, 16 Sep 2008 (EST)