Free libre source code

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Free libre source code is software source code whose usage is both free and libre. It implies that the software itself is also free and libre, since any restrictions on the compiled code would be a restriction on usage.

Edge Case

If someone writes their own software, of which they are the only user, and does not give the software to anyone else, the question of whether it is "free and libre" or not depends on a fine definitional distinction. If we call such software "self-written exclusive":

  • If "usage" means "all existing users", then self-written exclusive code is arguably still free and libre since all users of the code have free and libre usage of it.
  • If "usage" means "anyone who might want to use it", then self-written exclusive code is closed.

If "use" is understood to encompass any situation where one is directly affected by the software in question, then the self-written-exclusive scenario is generally not an issue in debates over software ownership ethics, since nobody would need to know the source code for software that doesn't affect them.