Its a whole lot more than just an ability to see the code. It is about rights about the power if the indomitable human spirit.
Last Updated : 2017
A Simple Explanation, Its not just about the the right to see the code. Its the freedom to do with it, as you please. Many people miss this basic point. Its all about giving YOU the user of the software the full rights to do with it as you please. The only right you do not have, is to claim it as your own and not share it will your fellow humans.
Of course, you don't care about the code. Most don't, and that's fine, the important part here is about the rights of the individual. This line gets fudged very badly by parties with vested interests in protecting only their bottom line above everything else.
Why should you care? How would you like it, if you were allowed to shop at only a certain store, allowed to eat only from a certain restaurant or fill fuel at only one pump.
You are not are you? You CHOOSE to go to your favorite shop, You CHOOSE where and what you eat, and You CHOOSE where you fill fuel from. Its about choice.
This is why you should care, because that is exactly what the powers-that-be have been enforcing on us since the advent of computing as we know it today. How many choices are there when you buy your PC. Why are we being forced to shell out $ for software not all of us want.
Thankfully a small band of dedicated enthusiasts choose to fight on our behalf, and their numbers are growing.
GNU - GPL, The philosophy and more
Free Software Foundation
What are they fighting for? They are fighting for a better future, filled with more choice for all of us.
"But Linux / Open Source Operating systems don't work as well"
Well, I know you wont believe me, but i will try. In 12 years with open source and linux, I've seen more success with Linux than with anything else. But I know where your coming from, so let me try to make an analogy here.
This is akin to you buying a car. Don't you just love it to be able to CHOOSE the car you want? what if there was only one car manufacturer, would their be so much choice?
That is exactly what has been happening in the IT industry.
You know how to drive don't you? Do you find it hard to change your vehicle? Do you have to learn driving all over again ? At most the challenge is automatic or geared shift.
The myths perpetuated by the forces working against choice have nurtured this very myth, that computing is hard, you cannot learn, you cannot change. Worse still, they fudge the meaning of the terms 'Freedom', 'Open source' . A simple test, ask yourself, how much freedom does it really give YOU.
Prove them wrong, Help us give you CHOICE.
*The term Free used here is Free as as in 'Free Speech'. That a lot of it is also also Free to download and use is another handy bonus.
A Handful of the more popular stuff out there, to get you started
Debian - Operating System
Redhat - Operating System
Fedora - Operating System
Ubuntu - Operating System
Firefox - Web Browser
Thunderbird - Email Client
Libre Office - Word processor, Spreadsheet, Presentations and more
GIMP - Advanced Graphics Software