User:Panos Alevropoulos/test/Requirements

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This page is maintained by the Free Software Foundation's Licensing and Compliance Lab. You can support our efforts by making a donation to the FSF. Have a question not answered here? Check out some of our other licensing resources or contact the Compliance Lab at


The Free Software Directory only lists programs that meet these requirements:

1. The program must meet the free software definition.

2. The program must run under the GNU operating system or another free operating system.

2.1 If the program runs on a nonfree operating system, then the version of the program that runs on the free operating system should be as good or better.

2.2 As an exception, programs running only on nonfree operating systems are added in special categories that help users switch to free software.

3. The program must not contain nonfree documentation.

3.1 If the program links to nonfree documentation, that documentation must not be linked on the Directory.

Red Flags

These cases render a program unacceptable for inclusion on the Free Software Directory.

Nonfree dependencies

A program is not entirely free if it depends on nonfree code; it is trapped. The use of a free software license does not guarantee that the program is really free. Its dependencies must also be evaluated.

Binary only

A program is not free if no source code is provided for its executable code.

Minified code

A program is not free if the source code is in the form of minified code.

Licensing issues

A program is not free if its licensing status is ambiguous or conflicting. In this case, it is recommended to notify and encourage project owners to clarify or remedy the licensing issues.

No license

A program is not free if it is not under any software license.

Nonfree assets

A program is not free if it includes nonfree assets (e.g., images, audio) that are essential parts of the software. However, if they are not essential (i.e., they are easily replaced), they do not affect the program's freeness.

Restrictive clauses

A program is not free if its copyright holder stipulates any kind of restrictions that are directly or indirectly in conflict with the four essential freedoms. See the FSF's license list. There is no hierarchical prevalence of a software license over another. A free software license does not override a restrictive clause. Examples of restrictive clauses include but are not limited to:

  • restricting its use for any reason;
  • forcing acceptance of the license or future license changes;
  • allowing revocation of the license;
  • requiring notification or publication of changes; and
  • stipulating that the license is "non-transferable" or "exclusive".

Digital Rights Management

Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) does not affect the freeness of the program per se. However, such measures are unethical and render the program unacceptable on the Free Software Directory. If you find a free program with DRM, please modify its source code and remove DRM. Join our campaign against DRM.

Red Herrings

These cases may seem odd but do not prohibit a program's inclusion on the Free Software Directory.


It is entirely acceptable for the program to be available for a fee.

Software as a Service Substitute

Service as a Software Substitute (SaaSS) means using a service as a substitute for running your copy of a program. This is a separate issue that is unrelated to free software. It is, however, an antifeature.

Upstream nonfree

It does not affect a program's freeness if it is a fork of a program that contains nonfree code. These are liberated versions of proprietary programs.

Inaccurate or absent copyright notice

A program is free even if it does not use a copyright notice. In this case, it is recommended to notify and encourage the copyright holder to provide accurate copyright notices.

Interpretations of the license

Personal interpretations of the program's license coming from the copyright holder do not affect the freeness of the program. If there are nontrivial licensing issues, the program is nonfree,

Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.3 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the page “GNU Free Documentation License”.

The copyright and license notices on this page only apply to the text on this page. Any software or copyright-licenses or other similar notices described in this text has its own copyright notice and license, which can usually be found in the distribution or license text itself.