What is Free Software?
It’s software that is legally protected in such a way that anybody can use it as they see fit. It’s also protect the source code from being hidden to the users.
What is source code?
It’s what humans use to tell machine and software how behave when you use them.
How is that helpful?
Free and equal access
Almost all free softwares are free to use and can be legally used by everybody.
Trusting the software
If the source code is readable, then people can verify that the software actually do what it say. Let’s say, for example that RiseUp.net release a document that explaining how Skype is spying on you. There’s no way to validate since the source cause is unavailable. If Skype was a free software, we could verify.
Control, or Freedom
Having access to the source code mean we can control what the software does. This, in theory, prevent outsiders from inserting malware and surveillance systems in your softwares.
Crowd sourced efforts
Free software allow communities to create software for users, which is superior to corporations creating software for profit. The Linux operating system is one of the best example.
Why should we care about Free Software?
Without free software, everybody on earth, would be at the full mercy of government mass surveillance and corporations control. It is the only technological tool we have against them. Learning, using and sharing free software is contributing to freedom, respect, equality and transparency for all.
I wrote a guide on how to learn Linux if you feel like giving it a try.
Richard Stalman - Freedom in your computer and in the net
Pete Fein - Free Software, Free People
GNU OS & FS movement Free software Open Source Software