On Supporting OpenSource Software

There has been a lot of mis-information about open source software put out in the trade magazines and tech people with obligations to proprietary companies.  We feel it is important to tell our customers the truth about open source software.

1) “Free” doesn’t always mean ‘no money’.  People often make the mistake of confusing open source software for no cost software.  advocates of proprietary software have tried to make this an issue by claiming that open source advocates are lying to users by claiming something is free when it has a cost to it. Open Source software may indeed have a monetary cost to obtain it, but there are bonuses form buying Open Source software over proprietary software.

Open Source software means that it is available to be used and modified by anyone, for any purpose other than the original programmers/developers intentions.  You can make any changes to the software, provided you, or someone you trust, is a competent programmer/developer.  You will not have to pay a fee or obtain permission to have access to the source code or release your modified version. This means once you have the program, it is yours to implement and use as you choose, not how someone else decides.

2) Free software is low quality software, or, “you get what you pay for”.  Again, not to confuse free as in no cost with free as in, freedom to use as you will, very often, you will find that most open source software is available at no or a low financial cost to you.  There are several reasons for this and none of them relate to the quality of the work.

Because the base or ‘source’ code is freely accessible, anyone with an interest and ability is able to modify and/or improve it at will.  Because there is free access to it, everyone form professiona programmers with free time to students to actual users with good ideas to make it better can contribute to the software and make it better than it was before.  Most open source software is constantly being updated and improved, even the Linux operating system is constantly being improved and updated by all manner of people seeking to make it the best they can.

Comments are closed.