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Frequently Asked Questions

These are the questions which we magically guessed could be asked by visitors new to this site. Eye

We are not an usual software support site so there are bound to be questions. Don't worry, we've got you covered, and if your question isn't answered, just ask it in comments below and we'll provide you with answers..

1. What is this "Free Software"?

Instinctively when people think of free software they think of software you can get for free, software you don't have to pay anything for. But when we say "Free Software" (and yes we do capitalize "F" and "S" in purpose) we mean the other meaning of the english word "free", the one referring to being free from certain restrictions, the way one can be free to speak (Free Speech!). Software that is free in this sense can usually be downloaded for free, but can also always be legally shared with other people, used without expiring, showing ads or spying on you and even modified to run differently if you so wish.

That's the gist of it, but if you wanna know more smart people have defined it.

2. How do I know software I use is "Free Software"?

This is something you can usually find out by visiting the web site of software you are using. If it says that it is "Free Software" and/or "Open Source", that it is licensed under the GNU GPL or other license on this list (listed as a Free Software license) then it is very likely Free Software. You can also read the license of your software directly usually from the about menu to determine whether its terms fit the Free Software Definition.

But if you have your doubts you can simply ask. It may be helpful to know that most software usually running on GNU/Linux and BSD is Free Software while most software ran on Windows is not Free Software.

3. What do you mean by "support"?

If you need help with anything related to a particular piece of Free Software we will strive to help you in our forums. Our blogs and articles further offer information that may be helpful. That is what we mean by "support". By helping people choose from Free Software and then use it properly to do what you wish to do we support Free Software and its users.

4. What is GNU/Linux?

It is currently the most popular full blown Free Software operating system. It usually comes in flavors called "distributions" or "distros" for short. Those are basically bundles of software built around the core which is the Linux kernel and the essential GNU system tools. Distros you may have heard of are Ubuntu, Debian, SuSE, Fedora, RedHat, Slackware etc. They are all commonly GNU/Linux.

5. What is BSD?

There are actually more than one BSD operating systems, such as FreeBSD, OpenBSD, NetBSD, PC-BSD or DesktopBSD. They are also all Free Software. BSD's are much more similar to GNU/Linux than to Windows. GNU/Linux is a "clone" of UNIX while BSD's are almost UNIX — they are the product of an evolutionary process that turned UNIX into a completely free system. BSD stands for "Berkeley Software Distribution", and indeed it all started at the University of California Berkeley.

6. What's the deal with the penguin?

The penguin, called "Tux", is by most people accepted as the cutest mascot for GNU/Linux and even Free Software at large, which is why we are featuring it in our logo. It is however originally a mascot for the Linux kernel. The original drawing was created by Larry Ewing in The Gimp, a free image manipulation program.

There are other mascots which you may see on our homepage. On a screen near the introduction the penguin Tux is coming from the bottom right and the daemon coming from the bottom left is the mascot of BSD. The one coming from the top is a baby version of GNU, a mascot for the GNU OS whose basic system tools make up the GNU/Linux.

We are showing you all these mascots to signify that we support people using all these operating systems and any Free Software running on them. We don't discriminate on operating systems. Whichever is best for you is the best for you, and that's it. Eye

Comments

And maybe it's not such a minor correction if you're a student or alumni of UC Berkeley, but at the end of BSD section it should say University of California Berkeley.

But regardless of this minor mistake, this is an outstanding FAQ -- thanks for making it available.

It's been fixed, thanks for

It's been fixed, thanks for that. Smiling

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