NOTE: Please note that this section was written in 2003, so some of this will sound quaint to you :-)
"Free/Libre and Open Source Software", in short, FLOSS is based on the concept of a community, which itself is based on the concept of sharing, and particularly the sharing of knowledge. FLOSS are free for usage, modification and redistribution.
If you have already read this book, then you are already familiar with FLOSS since you have been using Python all along and Python is an open source software!
Here are some examples of FLOSS to give an idea of the kind of things that community sharing and building can create:
Linux: This is a FLOSS OS kernel used in the GNU/Linux operating system. Linux, the kernel, was started by Linus Torvalds as a student. Android is based on Linux. Any website you use these days will mostly be running on Linux.
Ubuntu: This is a community-driven distribution, sponsored by Canonical and it is the most popular GNU/Linux distribution today. It allows you to install a plethora of FLOSS available and all this in an easy-to-use and easy-to-install manner. Best of all, you can just reboot your computer and run GNU/Linux off the CD! This allows you to completely try out the new OS before installing it on your computer. However, Ubuntu is not entirely free software; it contains proprietary drivers, firmware, and applications.
LibreOffice: This is an excellent community-driven and developed office suite with a writer, presentation, spreadsheet and drawing components among other things. It can even open and edit MS Word and MS PowerPoint files with ease. It runs on almost all platforms and is entirely free, libre and open source software.
Mozilla Firefox: This is the best web browser. It is blazingly fast and has gained critical acclaim for its sensible and impressive features. The extensions concept allows any kind of plugins to be used.
Mono: This is an open source implementation of the Microsoft .NET platform. It allows .NET applications to be created and run on GNU/Linux, Windows, FreeBSD, Mac OS and many other platforms as well.
Apache web server: This is the popular open source web server. In fact, it is the most popular web server on the planet! It runs nearly more than half of the websites out there. Yes, that's right - Apache handles more websites than all the competition (including Microsoft IIS) combined.
VLC Player: This is a video player that can play anything from DivX to MP3 to Ogg to VCDs and DVDs to ... who says open source ain't fun? ;-)
This list is just intended to give you a brief idea - there are many more excellent FLOSS out there, such as the Perl language, PHP language, Drupal content management system for websites, PostgreSQL database server, TORCS racing game, KDevelop IDE, Xine - the movie player, VIM editor, Quanta+ editor, Banshee audio player, GIMP image editing program, ... This list could go on forever.
To get the latest buzz in the FLOSS world, check out the following websites:
Visit the following websites for more information on FLOSS:
So, go ahead and explore the vast, free and open world of FLOSS!