Free Software Foundation Relaunches Software Directory

by Ostatic Staff - Sep. 29, 2011

The Free Software Foundation today announced the relaunch of The Free Software Directory. For years The Free Software Directory allowed users to search and browser for software that meets The Free Software Definition, which is basically what most think of as Open Source software, but an update was needed.

The directory has been in place for quite a while, but with increasing activity in development, a growing numbers of developers, and so many releases modermization became necessary. John Sullivan, FSF's executive director, explains, "We wanted to update the technology we use for the site so that contributors can participate in examining and posting new entries, and users can more easily search them."

The Free Software Directory Website is based on MediaWiki, which is used for 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."

The updates will help developers contribute but regular users will appreciate the search function. Applications are grouped by category for users to browse or can be searched by keyword, description, or even name. The directory listed over 6500 programs, but Sullivan says that list is incomplete. The new site makes it easier to fill in the gaps with direct submission. Previously one had to email the maintainers.

Items listed primarily run on Linux but Windows and Mac are not excluded. The platform isn't the determining factor, neither is price. All software must meet the Free Software Definition. Remember free means free speech, not free of cost.