The promotion of free software at GMU is best left to Mason Linux User Group, but we explain here what free software is and why it's important to SRCT.

"Free software" means software that respects users' freedom and community. Roughly, it means that the users have the freedom to run, copy, distribute, study, change and improve the software. Thus, "free software" is a matter of liberty, not price. To understand the concept, you should think of "free" as in "free speech," not as in "free beer".

The Free Software Definition

SRCT creates and provides services for the benefit our school. One of those benefits is providing the opportunity for everyone to contribute to our projects, giving students the chance to learn from experience, from each other, and to foster a sense of community. We believe our collective knowledge can build and deploy better projects than anyone could individually, but we believe that free computing is an ideal of particular importance within an academic environment, where students are taught the virtues of intellectual and social freedoms and independence.

In any intellectual field, one can reach greater heights by standing on the shoulders of others. But that is no longer generally allowed in the software field—you can only stand on the shoulders of the other people in your own company.

Why Software Should Be Free

We encourage every student to learn about programming through our services, and believe that that knowledge is of utmost importance in a time of rapid, software-based societal changes. This learning opportunity, and by extension a full understanding of the technological and cultural shifts we are currently experiencing, is possible only with free software.

Additional information on SRCT and software freedom for developers, including information on licensing, is available on our wiki.