Free Software
Time 5.8 hrs

Difficulty Intermediate
Prerequisites Open Culture
Departments Human Technologies
Authors Ross Parker
Groupings Individual
Minimum Year Group None


Everyone needs to earn a living, but some of the world's best programmers work for free building free software for everyone to enjoy and build on. This amazing quality free software powers much of the Internet, the web, our servers, laptops and phones. It is in our programming languages and databases. It is everywhere. How do you explain smart people creating great stuff, and giving it away for free?


This work is shared under the following license: Creative Commons BY-SA-NC


The Pitch
Why should I bother learning this?
  • Do you want to understand, and maybe become part of, a global movement of people building amazing, open and free technology?
What is needed to run this unit?
Interdisciplinary Links
Do not try and force this. What areas of other subjects might this reflect and/discuss language. For IB, links with ToK.
  • ...
Teacher Reflection
What was successful? What needs changing? Alternative Assessments and Lesson Ideas? What other Differentiation Ideas/Plans could be used?
  • ...
Any CC attribution, thanks, credit, etc.

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5 mins
Join The Movement
The Pitch
  • Do you want to understand, and maybe become part of, a global movement of people building amazing, open and free technology?
205 mins
70 mins
Hands On
  • Now you understand what free, open source software is all about, spend some time playing with some of these free software titles:
    • Linux
      • Start with this if you're on a Chromebook. You can activate it from the Settings menu under Linux (Beta).
      • Linux is a complete (and very powerful) operating system, and so is used by ChromeOS as a virtual machine to let you run most of the software listed below.
      • You can't run Linux directly on a Mac, so skip this one if you're on a Mac
    • Firefox
    • LibreOffice
    • WordPress
    • VLC
    • Kodi
    • Handbrake
    • VirtualBox
    • Android
    • KeyPassX
  • If you're on a Chromebook and can't run some of these titles on ChromeOS, try downloading them through Linux. You might have to look up a guide, but it'll be worth your time.
70 mins
Finishing Up
  • Take one of the free software titles from the list above, or a title of your choosing, and produce a short (1 minute) video explaining to potential users why it is good, and why they might want to use it.
  • Submit the video, complete with CC license and attribution as evidence for this unit.
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