FAQ

What does GCLUG stand for

GCLUG stands for the Gold Coast Linux User Group. We are a group of Linux users who live on and around the sunny Gold Coast. Skill’s of members are all over the board, chances someone on the list or in IRC will be able to help you. We are not just about Linux, we even have the odd *BSD user participating in discussions.

What is Linux

Linux is a UNIX-like operating system originally created by Linus Torvalds as a student in 1991, and now developed by a team of programmers around the world. Linus also introduced the cute icon of the penguin as the Linux mascot. The story is 100% Australian

It has gained a huge amount of interest because it is a secure, reliable, high-quality and low-cost alternative to other systems, and is freely available to research, modify and redistribute under the terms of the GNU General Public License (see the GPL FAQ for easier to digest information). However, Linux is not a complete operating environment by itself - it is just the ‘kernel’, a crucial piece of software that allows applications and hardware to communicate and work together. Much of the value of Linux comes from “Open Source” and “Free Software” programs...

What is Free Software

The ideals behind the Free Software movement were conceived by Richard Stallman in the early 80s, as a response to the increasingly proprietary nature of the software industry. According to the Free Software philosophy, it is a matter of liberty, not price: “Free” as in “free speech”, not as in “free beer”.

Free Software provides users with the following freedoms:

  • freedom to run the program, for any purpose
  • freedom to study how the program works, and adapt it to your needs,
  • freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor,
  • freedom to improve the program, and release your improvements to the public, so that the whole community benefits.

What is Open Source

Open Source is essentially a softer term for Free Software, without the moral or political “baggage”, as explained by the Open Source Initiative:

“The Open Source Initiative is a marketing program for free software. It’s a pitch for ‘free software’ on solid pragmatic grounds rather than ideological tub-thumping. The [...] substance has not changed, the [...] attitude and symbolism have.”

The annotated Open Source Definition is similar to the Free Software philosophy, but describes its goals in terms of the efficiency, quality and practicalities of Open Source, rather than the freedoms of Free Software.

People who are attracted to Open Source on pragmatic terms often find that the ideals and freedoms of Free Software are its greatest advantage. In this light, Open Source and Free Software are two sides of the same coin.

 
faq.txt · Last modified: 2007/02/05 14:23 by patoh
 
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