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Free Software Directory

Free Software Directory

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The Free Software Directory is a project of the Free Software Foundation
Free Software Foundation
The Free Software Foundation is a non-profit corporation founded by Richard Stallman on 4 October 1985 to support the free software movement, a copyleft-based movement which aims to promote the universal freedom to create, distribute and modify computer software...

 (FSF). It catalogs free software
Free software
Free software, software libre or libre software is software that can be used, studied, and modified without restriction, and which can be copied and redistributed in modified or unmodified form either without restriction, or with restrictions that only ensure that further recipients can also do...

 that runs under free operating system
Operating system
An operating system is a set of programs that manage computer hardware resources and provide common services for application software. The operating system is the most important type of system software in a computer system...

s - particularly GNU and Linux
Linux is a Unix-like computer operating system assembled under the model of free and open source software development and distribution. The defining component of any Linux system is the Linux kernel, an operating system kernel first released October 5, 1991 by Linus Torvalds...

. The project was formerly co-run by UNESCO
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations...


Unlike some other directories that focus on free software, Free Software Directory staff verify the licenses of software listed in the directory. By September 2009, the Directory listed 6,000 packages whose number grew up to 6,500 in October 2011, when the newly updated directory was launched. All listed packages are "free for any computer user to download, run and share. Each entry is individually checked and tested [...] so users know that any program they come across in the directory will be truly free software [...] with free documentation and without proprietary software requirements".

Several scientific publications review of refer to the directory. It has been remarked that the Directory "only includes software that runs on free operating systems. The FSF/UNESCO Free Software Directory is also a collaborative project, offering a web interface for users to enter and update entries".
Among the critical issues of the previous version, it has been pointed out that while "available software is described using a variety of textual metadata, including the components upon which a particular piece of software depends", "unfortunately, those dependencies are only listed by name, and locating and retrieving them is left to the user".
On the other hand, the accuracy of the directory review on licenses is acknowledged.
In September 2011, the Free Software Directory was re-implemented as a wiki
A wiki is a website that allows the creation and editing of any number of interlinked web pages via a web browser using a simplified markup language or a WYSIWYG text editor. Wikis are typically powered by wiki software and are often used collaboratively by multiple users. Examples include...

, using MediaWiki
MediaWiki is a popular free web-based wiki software application. Developed by the Wikimedia Foundation, it is used to run all of its projects, including Wikipedia, Wiktionary and Wikinews. Numerous other wikis around the world also use it to power their websites...

 and the Semantic MediaWiki
Semantic MediaWiki
Semantic MediaWiki is an extension to MediaWiki that allows for annotating semantic data within wiki pages, thus turning a wiki that incorporates the extension into a semantic wiki...

 extension, to allow users to directly add to and modify its contents.
Semantic MediaWiki provides the directory with semantic web
Semantic Web
The Semantic Web is a collaborative movement led by the World Wide Web Consortium that promotes common formats for data on the World Wide Web. By encouraging the inclusion of semantic content in web pages, the Semantic Web aims at converting the current web of unstructured documents into a "web of...

 technologies by adding "advanced search and presentation capabilities, structured to be useful for reading by both humans and data-mining programs".The Free Software Foundation (FSF) Re-launches Free Software Directoryā€ˇ, TECK.IN, October 3rd, 2011.

The new edition
In printmaking, an edition is a number of prints struck from one plate, usually at the same time. This is the meaning covered by this article...

 of the directory has been described as designed to ease and support with semantics
Semantics is the study of meaning. It focuses on the relation between signifiers, such as words, phrases, signs and symbols, and what they stand for, their denotata....

 the discovery and harvesting of information on free software programs. "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 most general taxonomy
Taxonomy is the science of identifying and naming species, and arranging them into a classification. The field of taxonomy, sometimes referred to as "biological taxonomy", revolves around the description and use of taxonomic units, known as taxa...

of the projects reviewed and accepted in the directory is the following:

External links