Rosie the Riveter Free Software/Open Source propaganda by Iwan Gabovitch (https://www.flickr.com/photos/qubodup/) is licensed under CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/) https://www.flickr.com/photos/qubodup/ https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/
Chances are, you're using free and open source software to view this website, probably without even realising it. The majority of the world's websites run on the open source operating system Linux (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linux), using the open source Apache web server (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apache_HTTP_Server).
Join us on Wednesday 20 April at Birmingham Open Media to find out more about what free and open source software is, discover free alternatives to expensive sofware such as Photoshop and learn how free and open source software helps all have control over the technology we use in our homes, schools and businesses.
Remember to bring along your smartphone/tablet/laptop so that you can try out different software and see for yourself what free and open source software has to offer.
What is free software?
Free software is software that gives you the user the freedom to share, study and modify it. Free software is very different from proprietary software such as Microsoft Window and Adobe Photoshop, which place restrictions on our use of their software.
You can find out more about the benefits of free software over on the Free Software Foundation (https://www.fsf.org/about/what-is-free-software) website.
What's the difference between free software and open source software?
The terms free and open source are often used interchangeably. For practical purposes, the difference can come down to the way software is licensed.
As a rule, free software has more stringent eligibility criteria than open source software. This means software may qualify as open source but not as free, due to certain restrictions the creators have placed on it.
Sometimes, the difference comes down to personal philosophy. Advocates of open source software may not share the more overtly political values of the free software movement.
You can find out more about open source software via the Open Source Initiative (https://opensource.org/docs/osd) website.
Tell us which free and open source software we should higlight
Got a favourite piece of free and open source software you think other people should know about? Add your suggestions to our Etherpad planning notes (https://etherpad.wikimedia.org/p/ORG_Brum_open_source_software_meetup_notes).