Why software should be free

In this article I try to explain why software should be free, why you should avoid proprietary (“non-free”) software, why your organization should choose Linux rather than Windows or OS X as the operating system on your computers.

I also try to explain why this choice is currently not the mainstream and why you should nevertheless consider it.

Short answer to the question in the title: Software should be free because the more your everyday life depends on computers, the more it is important to ask who controls these computers. Proprietary software causes its users to depend on the software owner regarding decisions like when it makes sense to upgrade, which features to drop and which to develop, or how to implement security controls.

This document focuses on software, but there are even more fundamental reasons why software should be free: because it is a form of published content (see A just salary for authors and distributors) and because proprietary software is a collective sin that cannot lead to a sustainable modern human civilization.