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Why should we care about using an operating system that is 100% free software? Isn't it enough if almost all of the system is free? Not if you value freedom itself.
The Free Software Movement was founded to win freedom for software users. Its offshoot, Open Source, was founded to downplay freedom as a value. This difference, which may seem subtle, has big consequences and this is one example of them.
The goal of Open Source is the technical superiority of software, but a GNU/Linux distribution(*) that includes non-free software is acceptable by the standards of Open Source. Some supporters of Open Source might even appreciate non-free software, because freedom is not the purpose of Open Source. Open Source doesn't include every software user as part of the community, but is primarily concerned with software users who are able to help develop the software. The superficiality of placing the convenience of non-free software above people, culture, and community is the main difference between Open Source and the Free Software movement. Free software is concerned with the loss of freedom. Open Source is not.
We in the Free Software Movement view the freedom of each software user as important. The Free Software Movement has brought victories like the GNU/Linux operating system. The target is freedom and the achievement is having a modern computer operating system composed entirely of free software. The free GNU/Linux system allows software users to have a free community based on mutualism, sharing, and co-operation.
Success in establishing freedom doesn't guarantee we won't lose it. We must continue to raise the issue of software freedom and to defend users' freedom. Partial freedom is a step up from none at all, but you deserve more. The mixture of free software with non-free software is a step up from using a completely non-free system, but it doesn't get you all the way to freedom. Since the free software that exists won't make you free if you also use non-free software, we reject non-free software and only use free software. If you value freedom then please join us in our struggle against the unethical and antisocial non-free software social system by using a GNU/Linux distribution that has a policy of standing up for freedom and rejecting non-free software.
“[Open Source] would never have developed a free operating system like GNU/Linux, because they don't particularly feel it is important to have one. The reason GNU/Linux exists as a free operating system is because of people who do care.” --Richard Stallman
(*) A GNU/Linux distribution is a collection of software built upon a GNU system and the Linux kernel. It also includes a selection of software. Distributions are made with a specific goal, functionality, or user base in mind. For example, gNewSense has a strict policy to reject all non-free software.
P.S. Please note this page was written by several members of the gNewSense community. A more thorough and clear understanding of Free Software and ilk is best obtained from the source (no pun itself!
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