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Portal:Free and open-source software

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Free and open-source software (in short, FOSS) is software that is distributed in a manner that allows its users to run the software for any purpose, to redistribute copies of, and to examine, study, and modify, the source code. FOSS is also a loosely associated movement of multiple organizations, foundations, communities and individuals who share basic philosophical perspectives and collaborate practically, but might diverge in detail questions.

Historical precursor is the hobbyist and academic public domain software ecosystem of the 1960s to 1980s. The FOSS movement's "free" part originates from Richard Matthew Stallman who noted the lost freedom to users on the decline of the public domain ecosystem and the grow of a copyright'ed proprietary software ecosystem. As response, he created as hack of the copyright system the GPL, a protective license, aiming for the creation of a complete and free operating systemGNU. Shortly after the BSDs (FreeBSD, OpenBSD, NetBSD) brought an alternative FOSS approach on the table, the more public domain like permissive licenses and its ecosystem. Other noteworthy FOSS organizations from this time include the Apache Foundation (Apache Server), GNOME, Debian, Mozilla Foundation (Firefox), with their own ideas: The Free Software Definition, Debian Free Software Guidelines, The Open Source Definition and more. On end of 1990s, in context of the dot-com bubble and web 2.0, the Open-Source movement (with Eric S. Raymond, Bruce Perens, Tim O'Reilly and others) gave important impulses to FOSS with the achieved open sourcing of Netscape's browser as Firefox and Sun Microsystems' office suit as The rise of Linus Torvalds' Linux as general purpose OS in the 2000s finally paved the way to broad mainstream recognition and acceptance of FOSS in the IT domain and general public. In the 2010s GitHub's openness and collaboration encouraging software repository cloud service brought FOSS software development & maintenance methodologies to mainstream software development.

The FOSS movement gave inspiration on the creation of many related movements, like the Open access, Open hardware, Open content, Free culture, open standards and many more.


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The Wireshark logo

Wireshark is a free packet sniffer computer application. It is used for network troubleshooting, analysis, software and communications protocol development, and education. In June 2006 the project was renamed from Ethereal due to trademark issues.

The functionality Wireshark provides is very similar to tcpdump, but it has a GUI front-end, and many more information sorting and filtering options. It allows the user to see all traffic being passed over the network (usually an Ethernet network, but Wireshark also supports decoding 802.11 frames and even USB traffic) by putting the network card into promiscuous mode.

Wireshark uses the cross-platform GTK+ widget toolkit, and is cross-platform, running on various computer operating systems including FreeBSD, Linux, Mac OS X, and Microsoft Windows. Released under the terms of the GNU General Public License, Wireshark is free software.



Although there was free software before, in 1983 Richard Stallman launched the free software movement and founded the Free Software Foundation to promote the movement and to publish its own definition of free software. Others published alternative definitions of free software, including the Debian Free Software Guidelines and the Berkeley Software Distribution-based operating system communities.

In 1998, Bruce Perens and Eric S. Raymond began a campaign to market open-source software and founded the Open Source Initiative, which espoused different goals and a different philosophy from Stallman's.[1]


Operating systems

Operating Systems meeting the Free Software Foundation's definition of Free Software.



Impediments and challenges
Digital Millennium Copyright Act · Digital rights management · Tivoization · Software patents and free software · Trusted Computing · Proprietary software · SCO-Linux controversies · Binary blobs
Adoption issues
OpenDocument format · Vendor lock-in · GLX · Free standards · Free software adoption cases
About licences
Free software licences · Copyleft · List of FSF-approved software licenses
Common licences
GNU General Public License · GNU Lesser General Public License · GNU Affero General Public License · IBM Public License · Mozilla Public License · Permissive free software licences
History of... software · Free software movement
Groupings of software
Comparison of free software for audio
Naming issues
GNU/Linux naming controversy · Alternative terms for free software · Naming conflict between Debian and Mozilla


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