Free software

Freedoms 1 and 3 require source code to be available because studying and modifying software without its source code can range from highly impractical to nearly impossible.

All free-software licenses must grant users all the freedoms discussed above. However, unless the applications' licenses are compatible, combining programs by mixing source code or directly linking binaries is problematic, because of license technicalities. Programs indirectly connected together may avoid this problem.

The Free Software Foundation and the Open Source Initiative both publish lists of licenses that they find to comply with their own definitions of free software and open-source software respectively:

The FSF list is not prescriptive: free-software licenses can exist that the FSF has not heard about, or considered important enough to write about. So it's possible for a license to be free and not in the FSF list. The OSI list only lists licenses that have been submitted, considered and approved. All open-source licenses must meet the Open Source Definition in order to be officially recognized as open source software. Free software, on the other hand, is a more informal classification that does not rely on official recognition. Nevertheless, software licensed under licenses that do not meet the Free Software Definition cannot rightly be considered free software.

"We migrated key functions from Windows to Linux because we needed an operating system that was stable and reliable – one that would give us in-house control. So if we needed to patch, adjust, or adapt, we could."