Why most software is proprietary

12th February 2017

Apple logo
Google Play logo
Microsoft logo
Steam logo

Industry standard practice for software distribution is as follows: publisher publishes the compiled program under a EULA (End User License Agreement) that permits installation and usage but forbids studying, modification or redistribution. And they keep all the source code secret (the original, human readable version of the code).

It's interesting to contemplate why they do this. If they wanted to protect some clever concept they've invented they could just patent it, so it can't be that. Maybe it could be:

Free Software

The alternative is Free Software. This is software that gives access to all the code, and all the copyright permissions to study, modify, and redistribute. This is the foundation of a global software community allowing software to be publicly audited, maintained without the vendors help, and customised to suit individual users needs. See my blog post on how to use Free Software.

Poking fun at proprietary software vendors

If you distribute any Free Software, you can use this badge I made to challenge proprietary software vendors. If you use it on your website you may link it back to this page if you wish. And make sure to put a donation link on your website so your users can pay you!

PROUD: Proud of our work, FREEDOM: Study, modify, share, CODE: Got nothing to hide, PAY: So good you want to.

You can download the SVG file for the badge here.

Creative Commons License
This badge is Copyright 2017 Joseph Graham, and licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.