The following are notable organizations devoted to the advocacy, legal aid, financial aid, technical aid, governance, etc. of free and open-source software (FOSS) as a whole, or of one or more specific FOSS projects. For projects that have their own foundation or are part of an umbrella organization, the primary goal is often to provide a mechanism for funding development of the software.
For the most part, these organizations are structured as nonprofit/charity organizations.
This list does not include companies that aim to make money from free and open-source software.
The following organizations host, and provide other services, for a variety of different open-source projects:
The following organizations host open-source projects that relate to a specific technical area.
A large number of single-project organizations (often called "foundations") exist; in most cases, their primary purpose is to provide a mechanism to bring funds from the software's users, including both individuals and companies, to its developers.
Free software or libre 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.
Free Software Foundation (FSF) grants two annual awards. Since 1998, FSF has granted the award for Advancement of Free Software and since 2005, also the Free Software Award for Projects of Social Benefit.
Free and Open source Software Developers' European Meeting (FOSDEM) is a non-commercial, volunteer-organized European event centered on free and open-source software development. It is aimed at developers and anyone interested in the free and open-source software movement. It aims to enable developers to meet and to promote the awareness and use of free and open-source software.
Avahi is a free zero-configuration networking (zeroconf) implementation, including a system for multicast DNS/DNS-SD service discovery. It is licensed under the GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL).
Free and open-source software (FOSS) is a term used to refer to groups of software consisting of both free software and open-source software where anyone is freely licensed to use, copy, study, and change the software in any way, and the source code is openly shared so that people are encouraged to voluntarily improve the design of the software. This is in contrast to proprietary software, where the software is under restrictive copyright licensing and the source code is usually hidden from the users.
TrueOS is a discontinued Unix-like, server-oriented operating system built upon the most recent releases of FreeBSD-CURRENT.
Free/open-source software – the source availability model used by free and open-source software (FOSS) – and closed source are two approaches to the distribution of software.
rdesktop is an implementation of a client software for Microsoft's proprietary Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP). Rdesktop is free and open-source software, subject to the requirements of the GNU General Public License (GPL-3.0-or-later), and is available for Linux and BSD as well as for Microsoft Windows.
This comparison only covers software licenses which have a linked Wikipedia article for details and which are approved by at least one of the following expert groups: the Free Software Foundation, the Open Source Initiative, the Debian Project and the Fedora Project. For a list of licenses not specifically intended for software, see List of free-content licences.
The Southern California Linux Expo (SCALE) is an annual Linux, open source and free software conference held in Los Angeles, California, since 2002. Despite having Linux in its name, SCALE covers all open source operating systems and software. It is a volunteer-run event.
In the 1950s and 1960s, computer operating software and compilers were delivered as a part of hardware purchases without separate fees. At the time, source code, the human-readable form of software, was generally distributed with the software providing the ability to fix bugs or add new functions. Universities were early adopters of computing technology. Many of the modifications developed by universities were openly shared, in keeping with the academic principles of sharing knowledge, and organizations sprung up to facilitate sharing. As large-scale operating systems matured, fewer organizations allowed modifications to the operating software, and eventually such operating systems were closed to modification. However, utilities and other added-function applications are still shared and new organizations have been formed to promote the sharing of software.
License proliferation is the phenomenon of an abundance of already existing and the continued creation of new software licenses for software and software packages in the FOSS ecosystem. License proliferation affects the whole FOSS ecosystem negatively by the burden of increasingly complex license selection, license interaction, and license compatibility considerations.
Linux began in 1991 as a personal project by Finnish student Linus Torvalds: to create a new free operating system kernel. The resulting Linux kernel has been marked by constant growth throughout its history. Since the initial release of its source code in 1991, it has grown from a small number of C files under a license prohibiting commercial distribution to the 4.15 version in 2018 with more than 23.3 million lines of source code, not counting comments, under the GNU General Public License v2.
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to free software and the free software movement:
A free-software license is a notice that grants the recipient of a piece of software extensive rights to modify and redistribute that software. These actions are usually prohibited by copyright law, but the rights-holder of a piece of software can remove these restrictions by accompanying the software with a software license which grants the recipient these rights. Software using such a license is free software as conferred by the copyright holder. Free-software licenses are applied to software in source code and also binary object-code form, as the copyright law recognizes both forms.
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.
A Linux User Group or Linux Users' Group (LUG) or GNU/Linux User Group (GLUG) is a private, generally non-profit or not-for-profit organization that provides support and/or education for Linux users, particularly for inexperienced users. The term commonly refers to local groups that meet in person, but is also used to refer to online support groups that may have members spread over a very wide area and that do not organize, or are not dependent on, physical meetings. Many LUGs encompass FreeBSD and other free-software / open source Unix-based operating systems.