How can you quickly tell whether an application is free software or nonfree?

Well, one way is to check what the software is licensed under!

Roughly, a license can tell what users can and can't do.

The recommended free licenses are the GNU General Public License, version 3 (GPLv3) or the GNU Affero General Public License, version 3 because they are copyleft licenses. We will get into copyleft later.

The list of free licenses are here:

Get one with a green line!

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@librebuddys I am waiting for a trade-free license 😁 - like don't have to trade anything to use the software. The software asks nothing from you. You can copy it, distribute it, share, edit, whatever you want 😛.
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