The Free Software Foundation (FSF) Re-launches Free Software Directory‎

The Free Software Foundation (FSF) announced the re-launch of its Free Software Directory at http://directory.fsf.org. The Directory lists over 6,500 programs that are free for any computer user to download, run, and share. It was first launched nearly a decade ago, but the new version brings a host of new features designed to make it a more useful and current resource for users, developers, advocates, and researchers.

Because each entry is individually checked and tested, users know that any program they come across in the Directory will be free software with free documentation and without proprietary software requirements. Programs that run on proprietary operating systems like Mac and Windows are listed, but only if they also run fully on GNU/Linux. The new version of the Directory will continue to provide users these same assurances, but it has been rebuilt so that members of the free software community can become familiar with the criteria and then work together to curate and grow the catalog.

The new site is based on MediaWiki, free software most famously known for powering Wikipedia. It also uses a set of extensions called Semantic MediaWiki that add advanced search and presentation capabilities, structured to be useful for reading by both humans and data-mining programs.

To most users of the Directory, the key aspect of the new software is that it will make it easier for them to find the program they need. An extensive and flexible category system, plus over 40,000 keywords and more than 40 different fields of information, enhance both simple and advanced searching.

The Free Software Foundation, founded in 1985, is dedicated to promoting computer users’ right to use, study, copy, modify, and redistribute computer programs. The FSF promotes the development and use of free (as in freedom) software — particularly the GNU operating system and its GNU/Linux variants — and free documentation for free software.

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