What’s “free software”?

The GNU Assembly produces free software — also referred to as “libre software”, “liberating software”, or “open source”. Software is “free” if it respects its user’s freedom, namely the following four essential freedoms:

  1. The freedom to run the program as the user wishes, for any purpose.
  2. The freedom to study how the program works and to change it to suit their needs.
  3. The freedom to redistribute it.
  4. The freedom to distribute copies of modified versions.

These criteria were spelled out by Richard M. Stallman in the 1980s. The defense of the freedom of computer users is at the core of the Social Contract of the GNU Assembly.


  1. The term “open source” fails to convey the main idea: that the goal is freedom.