Freely redistributable software

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Freely redistributable software (FRS) is software that anyone is free to redistribute. The term has been used to mean two types of free to redistribute software, distinguished by the legal modifiability and limitations on purpose of use of the software. FRS which can be legally modified and used for any purpose is the same as free software. Non-legally modifiable FRS is freeware, shareware or similar.

The non-modifiable FRS generally comes in the form of executable binaries and is often used by proprietary software companies and authors to showcase their work or to encourage the user to buy full products from them (in the case of shareware, demo or trial versions). Freeware that is not restricted to be obtained from a specific distributor is also FRS.[ clarification needed ]

Firmware and microcode

In cases of firmware or microcode, it is acceptable for major open-source projects like OpenBSD to include a binary firmware of a device within the distribution, [1] as long as said firmware runs only on the external device in question, and not on the main CPU where the operating system itself is running. However, for such an inclusion to be in place, the binary firmware must be distributed under an adequate licence, [1] like ISC or BSD, and must not require a discriminatory contract to be in place. [2] A lack of such licence is why wireless devices from Intel Corporation do not work out of the box in almost all open-source distributions, whereas Ralink wireless cards work just fine. [2] [1]

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BIOS Firmware

In computing, BIOS is firmware used to perform hardware initialization during the booting process, and to provide runtime services for operating systems and programs. The BIOS firmware comes pre-installed on a personal computer's system board, and it is the first software to run when powered on. The name originates from the Basic Input/Output System used in the CP/M operating system in 1975. The BIOS originally proprietary to the IBM PC has been reverse engineered by some companies looking to create compatible systems. The interface of that original system serves as a de facto standard.

Free software Software licensed to preserve user freedoms

Free software is computer software distributed under terms that allow users to run the software for any purpose as well as to study, change, and distribute it and any adapted versions. Free software is a matter of liberty, not price: all users are legally free to do what they want with their copies of a free software regardless of how much is paid to obtain the program. Computer programs are deemed "free" if they give end-users ultimate control over the software and, subsequently, over their devices.

Freeware is software, most often proprietary, that is distributed at no monetary cost to the end user. There is no agreed-upon set of rights, license, or EULA that defines freeware unambiguously; every publisher defines its own rules for the freeware it offers. For instance, modification, redistribution by third parties, and reverse engineering are permitted by some publishers but prohibited by others. Unlike with free and open-source software, which are also often distributed free of charge, the source code for freeware is typically not made available. Freeware may be intended to benefit its producer by, for example, encouraging sales of a more capable version, as in the freemium and shareware business models.


In computing, firmware is a specific class of computer software that provides the low-level control for a device's specific hardware. Firmware can either provide a standardized operating environment for more complex device software, or, for less complex devices, act as the device's complete operating system, performing all control, monitoring and data manipulation functions. Typical examples of devices containing firmware are embedded systems, consumer appliances, computers, computer peripherals, and others. Almost all electronic devices beyond the simplest contain some firmware.

Monkey's Audio is an algorithm and file format for lossless audio data compression. Lossless data compression does not discard data during the process of encoding, unlike lossy compression methods such as AAC, MP3, Vorbis, and Opus. Therefore, it may be decompressed to a file that is identical to the source material.

The Debian Free Software Guidelines (DFSG) is a set of guidelines that the Debian Project uses to determine whether a software license is a free software license, which in turn is used to determine whether a piece of software can be included in Debian. The DFSG is part of the Debian Social Contract.

Unified Extensible Firmware Interface Specification that defines a software interface between an operating system and platform firmware

The Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) is a specification that defines a software interface between an operating system and platform firmware. UEFI replaces the legacy Basic Input/Output System (BIOS) firmware interface originally present in all IBM PC-compatible personal computers, with most UEFI firmware implementations providing support for legacy BIOS services. UEFI can support remote diagnostics and repair of computers, even with no operating system installed.

In a computer, the Advanced Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI) provides an open standard that operating systems can use to discover and configure computer hardware components, to perform power management e.g. putting unused hardware components to sleep, to perform auto configuration e.g. Plug and Play, and to perform status monitoring. First released in December 1996, ACPI aims to replace Advanced Power Management (APM), the MultiProcessor Specification, the PCI BIOS specification, and the Plug and Play BIOS (PnP) Specification. ACPI brings the power management under the control of the operating system, as opposed to the previous BIOS-centric system that relied on platform-specific firmware to determine power management and configuration policies. The specification is central to the Operating System-directed configuration and Power Management (OSPM) system. ACPI defines a hardware abstraction interface between the system firmware, the computer hardware components, and the operating systems.

The NSLU2 is a network-attached storage (NAS) device made by Linksys introduced in 2004 and discontinued in 2008. It makes USB flash memory and hard disks accessible over a network using the SMB protocol. It was superseded mainly by the NAS200 and in another sense by the WRT600N and WRT300N/350N which both combine a Wi-Fi router with a storage link.

Comparison of open-source wireless drivers

Wireless network cards for computers require control software to make them function. This is a list of the status of some open-source drivers for 802.11 wireless network cards.

A proprietary device driver is a closed-source device driver published only in binary code. In the context of free and open-source software, a closed-source device driver is referred to as a blob or binary blob. The term usually refers to a closed-source kernel module loaded into the kernel of an open-source operating system, and is sometimes also applied to code running outside the kernel, such as system firmware images, microcode updates, or userland programs. The term blob was first used in database management systems to describe a collection of binary data stored as a single entity.

FreeBSD Free Unix-like operating system

FreeBSD is a free and open-source Unix-like operating system descended from the Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD), which was based on Research Unix. The first version of FreeBSD was released in 1993. In 2005, FreeBSD was the most popular open-source BSD operating system, accounting for more than three-quarters of all installed simply, permissively licensed BSD systems.

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to free software and the free software movement:

Proprietary firmware is any firmware on which the producer has set restrictions on use, private modification, copying, or republishing.

BSD licenses are a family of permissive free software licenses, imposing minimal restrictions on the use and distribution of covered software. This is in contrast to copyleft licenses, which have share-alike requirements. The original BSD license was used for its namesake, the Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD), a Unix-like operating system. The original version has since been revised, and its descendants are referred to as modified BSD licenses.

Intel PRO/Wireless is a series of Intel wireless products.

Linux-libre Version of the Linux kernel without binary blobs

Linux-libre is an operating system kernel and a GNU package.

Software categories are groups of software. They allow software to be understood in terms of those categories, instead of the particularities of each package. Different classification schemes consider different aspects of software.

A free license or open license is a license agreement which contains provisions that allow other individuals to reuse another creator's work, giving them four major freedoms. Without a special license, these uses are normally prohibited by copyright law or commercial license. Most free licenses are worldwide, royalty-free, non-exclusive, and perpetual. Free licenses are often the basis of crowdsourcing and crowdfunding projects.


  1. 1 2 3 "rum-license (covers rum-rt2573 for rum(4), as well as run-rt2870 and run-rt3071 for run(4))". BSD Cross Reference, OpenBSD src/sys/dev/microcode/rum/.
  2. 1 2 "ipw.4 – Intel PRO/Wireless 2100 IEEE 802.11b wireless network device, Sh FILES". BSD Cross Reference, OpenBSD share/man/man4/. 2014-02-15. Retrieved 2014-12-28. These firmware files are not free because Intel refuses to grant distribution rights without contractual obligations. As a result, even though OpenBSD includes the driver, the firmware files cannot be included and users have to find these files on their own. The official person to state your views to about this issue is See also: ipw, iwi, wpi and iwn.