Free Software – It’s about much more than zero cost

Today we’re celebrating I love Free Software Day, where we say a big thank you to the developers and maintainers of free software projects around the world. You are awesome!

One such project is LibreOffice, of course – but what does “free software” actually mean?

Well, from a purely practical perspective, it means that you can get it without paying for it. That’s nice, but free software doesn’t come out of nowhere: certified developers in the LibreOffice ecosystem need funding to keep adding new features, and The Document Foundation (the non-profit that oversees LibreOffice) appreciates donations to manage the project, organise events and share knowledge.

But “free” means a lot more

When we talk about free software like LibreOffice, we’re talking about fundamental freedoms:

  • The freedom to run the software as you wish, for any purpose
  • The freedom to study how the program works, and change its source code
  • The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your friends and colleagues
  • The freedom to distribute copies of your modified versions to others, so that they can benefit

Fundamental to this is the license under which the software is made available. LibreOffice is released under the Mozilla Public License Version 2.0, a free and open source license that lets everyone share the program – and gives everyone the right to study how it works and modify it.

Help to spread the message

LibreOffice users help to spread the word about LibreOffice to friends, family and colleagues, and we’re incredibly grateful for that. When you introduce someone to LibreOffice and highlight the low cost, you can also mention these freedoms too – the freedom to use your computer how you want, and not be controlled by any software company.

To learn more, check out the Free Software Foundation Europe’s page about free software. It’s a great overview of the social benefits that it beings.

And finally, a bit of fun

Here’s a great image from Elektrollart, made up of logos from many free and open source software projects. How many of them can you recognise? And can you find LibreOffice in here?


  1. By milo