Chapter 1. Introduction

Many people will hear about Linux in the news, being the cool new operating system that everyone can use free of charge. Those who become interested in it enough or actually start working with it, will learn that it is made out of many independent "open source" components. Now, after enough time (perhaps very soon), they will learn that the term "free software" (where free is free as in "free speech" and not free as in "free beer") can be used as an alternative to the adjective "open source". But what is open source and free software? What distinguishes them from other software that is available to the public at no cost or is distributed as shareware?

Note that the terms "free software" and "open source" would be used throughout this article to refer to the same phenomenon. I do not religiously stick to either term.