M2501 - Introduction to free software, February 2010
INTRODUCTION TO FREE SOFTWARE
Jesús González Barahona
Universitat Oberta de Catalunya
What is free software? What is it and what are the implications of a free program licence? How is free software developed? How are free software projects financed and what are the business models associated to them that we are experiencing? What motivates developers, especially volunteers, to become involved in free software projects? What are these developers like? How are their projects coordinated, and what is the software that they produce like? In short, what is the overall panorama of free software? These are the sort of questions that we will try to answer in this document. Because although free software is increasing its presence in the media and in debates between IT professionals, and although even citizens in general are starting to talk about it, it is still for the most part an unknown quantity. And even those who are familiar with it are often aware of just some of its features, and mostly ignorant about others.