Free software

Free software is most often copylefted but there are other kinds. The freedom refers to a "freedom to share and modify software" as the Free Software Foundation connotates the word "free". Freedom of use is of course only available to those who have the hardware and expertise to use the software, whose needs are addressed by the software. Freedom to modify is of course only available to those who have the skills, education and time to learn sometimes very complex and involved code, often in low level languages such as C.

The Consumerium Governance Organization may decide that some other balance of freedoms is appropriate to maximize delivery of Consumerium Services, so it is, as stated in the Consumerium:FAQ, not a feature of Consumerium that it rely entirely on free software.

There are also problems with free software and open source models that relate to the licenses they use, such as no discrimination against fields of endeavour (which Green Patent License seeks to address) and the viral license or share-alike issue, which some also consider onerous (thus, open source omits it). There are issues of enforcement that are perhaps better addressed via a consortium license.

From Consumerium's perspective, free software is only good if it spreads a moral purchasing ideal. Just "demand software for free" isn't good enough (nor is it an accurate portrayal of the meaning of software freedom, which the free software movement champions).

Free software is not a movement to discourage anyone from distributing software for a fee. Richard Stallman, the founder of the free software movement, distributed the free software he wrote for a fee for quite some time and was able to live based on what he made. This claim is contested as the FSF got many donations during that period. It is difficult sometimes to separate the FSF and Stallman personally from the movement that he defined and founded. The word copyleft which refers to a copyright that is licensed widely and used to prevent other copyrights from interfering with the "Freedoms", was coined by Don Hopkins, however, and should not be assumed to mean strictly the Stallman model.

The Free Software Foundation encourages people to distribute free software for the highest price the market will bear so that one makes money one can use in the development of more free software (they notably do not favour spending the money on hardware or research on the actual software needs of the poor - making them a quite unusual charity in this respect). That one can get free software at no fee is a side-effect of the ability to share the software.

In time, businesses were built on free software (such as Cygnus and Red Hat) and do quite well both in terms of their own ability to stay in business and their contributions to the free software movement. This movement has been small but self-sustaining, if one does not count massive inputs of volunteer and donor effort.