<!--#include virtual="/server/header.html" -->
<!-- Parent-Version: 1.79 1.84 -->
<title>Proprietary Software
- GNU Project - Free Software Foundation</title>
 <!--#include virtual="/proprietary/po/proprietary.translist" -->
<style type="text/css" media="print,screen">
div.companies { float: right; margin-bottom: .5em; }
div.malfunctions { max-width: 27em; }
div.toc h3 {
   text-align: left;
   font-size: 1.2em;
   padding: 0 .83em;
   margin: .5em 1.5% 1em;
div.toc li { list-style: none; margin-bottom: 1em; }
div.toc { margin-top: 1em; }
<!--#include virtual="/server/banner.html" -->
<h2>Proprietary Software Is Often Malware</h2>

<p>Proprietary software, also called nonfree software,
means software that doesn't
<a href="/philosophy/free-sw.html">respect users' freedom and
community</a>.  A proprietary program puts its developer or owner
<a href="/philosophy/free-software-even-more-important.html">
in a position of power over its users.</a>
This power is in itself an injustice.</p>

<p>The point of this page is that the initial injustice of proprietary
software often leads to further injustices: malicious

<p>Power corrupts; the proprietary program's developer is tempted to
design the program to mistreat its users.  (Software whose functioning
mistreats the user is called <em>malware</em>.)  Of course, the
developer usually does not do this out of malice, but rather to profit
more at the users' expense.  That does not make it any less nasty or
more legitimate.</p>

<p>Yielding to that temptation has become ever more frequent; nowadays
it is standard practice.  Modern proprietary software is typically
a way to be had.</p>

<p>As of April, 2017, the files in this directory list around 300
instances of malicious functionalities, but there are surely thousands
more we don't know about.</p>

<div class="toc">
<div class="companies">
<h3>Company or type of product</h3>
  <li><a href="/proprietary/malware-apple.html">Apple Malware</a></li>
  <li><a href="/proprietary/malware-microsoft.html">Microsoft Malware</a></li>
  <li><a href="/proprietary/malware-google.html">Google Malware</a></li>
  <li><a href="/proprietary/malware-adobe.html">Adobe Malware</a></li>
  <li><a href="/proprietary/malware-amazon.html">Amazon Malware</a></li>
  <li><a href="/proprietary/malware-webpages.html">Malware in webpages</a></li>
  <li><a href="/proprietary/malware-phones.html">Malware in phones</a></li>
  <li><a href="/proprietary/malware-mobiles.html">Malware in mobile devices</a></li>
  <li><a href="/proprietary/malware-games.html">Malware in games</a></li>
  <li><a href="/proprietary/malware-appliances.html">Malware in appliances</a></li>

<div class="malfunctions">
<h3>Type of malware</h3>
<li><a href="/proprietary/proprietary-back-doors.html">Back doors</a></li>
<li><a href="/proprietary/proprietary-censorship.html">Censorship</a></li>
<li><a href="/proprietary/proprietary-coverups.html">Coverups</a></li>
<li><a href="/proprietary/proprietary-deception.html">Deception</a></li>
<li><a href="/proprietary/proprietary-insecurity.html">Insecurity</a></li>
<li><a href="/proprietary/proprietary-sabotage.html">Sabotage</a></li>
<li><a href="/proprietary/proprietary-interference.html">Interference</a></li>
<li><a href="/proprietary/proprietary-surveillance.html">Surveillance</a></li>
<li><a href="/proprietary/proprietary-subscriptions.html">Subscriptions</a></li>
<li><a href="/proprietary/proprietary-tethers.html">Tethers</a> to
<li><a href="/proprietary/proprietary-drm.html">Digital restrictions
    management</a> or “DRM” means functionalities designed
    to restrict what users can do with the data in their computers.</li>
<li><a href="/proprietary/proprietary-jails.html">Jails</a>—systems
    that impose censorship on application programs.</li>
<li><a href="/proprietary/proprietary-tyrants.html">Tyrants</a>—systems
    that reject any operating system not “authorized” by the
<li><a href="/proprietary/potential-malware.html">Potential Malware</a></li>

<p>Users of proprietary software are defenseless against these forms
of mistreatment.  The way to avoid them is by insisting on
<a href="/philosophy/free-software-even-more-important.html">free
(freedom-respecting) software.</a>  Since free software is controlled
by its users, they have a pretty good defense against malicious
software functionality.</p>

</div><!-- for id="content", starts in the include above -->
<!--#include virtual="/server/footer.html" -->
<div id="footer">
<div class="unprintable">

<p>Please send general FSF & GNU inquiries to
<a href="mailto:gnu@gnu.org"><gnu@gnu.org></a>.
There are also <a href="/contact/">other ways to contact</a>
the FSF.  Broken links and other corrections or suggestions can be sent
to <a href="mailto:webmasters@gnu.org"><webmasters@gnu.org></a>.</p>

<p><!-- TRANSLATORS: Ignore the original text in this paragraph,
        replace it with the translation of these two:

        We work hard and do our best to provide accurate, good quality
        translations.  However, we are not exempt from imperfection.
        Please send your comments and general suggestions in this regard
        to <a href="mailto:web-translators@gnu.org">

        <p>For information on coordinating and submitting translations of
        our web pages, see <a
        README</a>. -->
Please see the <a
README</a> for information on coordinating and submitting translations
of this article.</p>

<!-- Regarding copyright, in general, standalone pages (as opposed to
     files generated as part of manuals) on the GNU web server should
     be under CC BY-ND 4.0.  Please do NOT change or remove this
     without talking with the webmasters or licensing team first.
     Please make sure the copyright date is consistent with the
     document.  For web pages, it is ok to list just the latest year the
     document was modified, or published.

     If you wish to list earlier years, that is ok too.
     Either "2001, 2002, 2003" or "2001-2003" are ok for specifying
     years, as long as each year in the range is in fact a copyrightable
     year, i.e., a year in which the document was published (including
     being publicly visible on the web or in a revision control system).

     There is more detail about copyright years in the GNU Maintainers
     Information document, www.gnu.org/prep/maintain. -->

<p>Copyright © 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 Free Software Foundation, Inc.</p>

<p>This page is licensed under a <a rel="license"
Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License</a>.</p>

<!--#include virtual="/server/bottom-notes.html" -->

<p class="unprintable">Updated:
<!-- timestamp start -->
$Date: 2017/09/30 21:00:11 $
<!-- timestamp end -->