What about source code?

The source code details the way a program works (it is effectively what programmers write). Without it no one can understand how the software is built. It does not matter if you can't read code: whether or not it is available directly affects any user.

No one can look inside

Windows comes without its source code. More than that: all users must abide to the license term that says:

You may not reverse engineer, decompile, or disassemble the software.

As such, it is illegal to work out how Windows or Microsoft Word are designed. It is even illegal to try. You are also forbidden to modify the program for any purpose.

This restriction in the license makes sure that Microsoft remain the sole organisation that understand how their products work. Windows is very much like a car that only the original manufacturer is allowed to service.


You might say, "How do I change this recipe to take out the salt?" and the great chef would respond, "How dare you insult my recipe, the child of my brain and my palate, by trying to tamper with it? You don't have the judgment to change my recipe and make it work right!"

Richard Stallman, Pam ddylai meddalwedd fod yn rhydd

Gallwch ymddiried mewn meddalwedd rydd

It comes as no surprise that proprietary software is severely lacking in terms of security, compared to software whose source code is freely available (including GNU/Linux).

Free software means programmers can change the code to repair flaws. It means you can hire someone to really check how secure your software is. It means you can benefit from the contributions of a world-wide community to improve safety and reliability. Fifteen million users run GNU/Linux without an anti-virus, in complete safety. And the servers behind search engines and banks run on it too.

Source code is the recipe for software. How could one improve on a meal with too much salt, if forbidden to look at the recipe used to cook it?

Mae defnyddio Windows ac Office yn golgyu na chawn ofyn na chwilio am ffynhonnell y feddalwedd. Dim ond datblygwyr Microsoft all addasu eich rhaglen.

Which would you rather trust: the package you are forbidden to study, or the package with the recipe?