Free Software

Free software (software libre or libre software) is software that can be used, studied, and modified without restriction, and which can be copied and redistributed in modified or unmodified form either without restriction, or with minimal restrictions only to ensure that further recipients can also do these things and that manufacturers of consumer-facing hardware allow user modifications to their hardware.

In practice, for software to be distributed as free software, the human-readable form of the program (the source code) must be made available to the recipient along with a notice granting the above permissions. Such a notice either is a free software license, or a notice that the source code is released into the public domain.

Free software shows the users' freedom to run, copy, distribute, study, change and improve the software. More precisely, it refers to four kinds of freedom for software users:

- freedom to run software for any purpose (freedom 0)
- freedom to study how software works and adapt it to your needs (freedom 1)
- freedom to redistribute copies of software so you can help your neighbor (freedom 2)
- freedom to improve software and release your improvements to the public, for the benefit of all (freedom 3)

The software is free if users have all these freedoms. Therefore, you are free to redistribute copies, either with or without modifications, free or with charging distribution costs to anyone anywhere. Being free to do these things means (among other things) that you do not have to ask permission or pay for it.

MEC solutions are designed to encourage and stimulate use of free software.