|| Tech House || Episode #002 – Free, Libre and Open Source Software on RDU 98.5 FM


What is Free, Libre and Open Software? It’s a big complicated topic but we still managed to have some good dialogue.

James from Up Again on RDU 98.5 FM kindly hosted me on his show again. Check out the audio and show notes below for further explanation.


Dr H.


  • What is Free, Libre and Open Software?
    • Free and Libre Software is defined by 4 freedoms:
      • The freedom to run the program, for any purpose.
      • The freedom to study how the program works, and adapt it to your needs.
      • The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor.
      • The freedom to improve the program, and release your improvements to the public, so that the whole community benefits.
    • What is Open Software?
      • Is code that covers some of the 4 freedoms but it can also be used in closed or proprietary software
  • Why does it matter?
    • Privacy
      • If you’re using a proprietary IM app and the maker says there’s no NSA backdoors in it you have to take their word for it. If it was free and open and you had the ability you could inspect the code for yourself.
    • Security
      • If you’ve had a proprietary pacemaker implanted and bad guys find bugs in the code they could physically threaten you. If the code was free and open the wider tech community could find the bug and responsibly advise the maker before the bad guys could use it.
  • Examples of Free, Libre and Open Software include:
    • Firefox Web Browser
    • Linux – the program which controls the hardware that all Android phones use
    • Signal – an iOS and Android app that allows you to easily send and receive encrypted text messages and phone calls