Free Software and Education

How Does Free Software Relate to Education?

Software freedom plays a fundamental role in education. Educational institutions of all levels should use and teach Free Software because it is the only software that allows them to accomplish their essential missions: to disseminate human knowledge and to prepare students to be good members of their community. The source code and the methods of Free Software are part of human knowledge. On the contrary, proprietary software is secret, restricted knowledge, which is the opposite of the mission of educational institutions. Free Software supports education, proprietary software forbids education.

Free Software is not just a technical question; it is an ethical, social, and political question. It is a question of the human rights that the users of software ought to have. Freedom and cooperation are essential values of Free Software. The GNU System implements these values and the principle of sharing, since sharing is good and beneficial to human progress.

To learn more, see the Free Software definition and our article on why software should be free (as in freedom).

The Basics

The GNU Project was launched in 1983 by Richard Stallman to develop a Free Libre operating system: the GNU operating system. As a result, today it is possible for anyone to use a computer in freedom.

In this six-minutes video Richard Stallman explains briefly and to the point the principles of Free Software and how they connect to education.

Download and watch the video at a higher definition in the Ogg Theora (ogv) free format. Transcriptions of this video are available in English, Spanish, and other languages. SubRip subtitle files are also available for download in English, Spanish, and other languages.

In Depth