Whether you know it or not computer programs were free one point of time , “Free as in Freedom” not as free as in free beer or free movie ticket.
At that time software was “free” by default. Sharing of software was not restricted in any manner. In the early 1970s and 80s situation started changing , software has started becoming a commodity. Many players entered into software development foreseeing probable multi-million software market in the future.Those Hacker communities then existed just disappeared, along with the freedom to share a software or piece of code. The natural right of copying banned by laws. More and more laws and policies were introduced in favor of corporate to help them in making money out of software business
Every social struggle arise from denial of some rights , By 70s and 80s such a counter movement started forming called as Free Software Movement, with the goal of obtaining and guaranteeing certain freedoms for software users, namely the freedom to run the software, to study and change the software, and to redistribute copies with or without changes. Although drawing on traditions and philosophies among members of the 1970s hacker culture and academia, Richard Stallman formally founded the movement in 1983 by launching the GNU Project. Free Software has shaped up to an extent that you get alternative for almost all proprietary software that is available in market today and many of them are qualitatively better than it’s opposite.