Why Open Source?

Why Open Source?  Well for starters its mostly free.  For virtually every commercial application, there is a open source counterpart that generally not only competes with it, but it usually outperforms it and has more features.

 

Why Open Source?  Well for starters its mostly free.  For virtually every commercial application, there is a open source counterpart that generally not only competes with it, but it usually outperforms it and has more features. heres a few examples:

Gimp=Photoshop

OpenOffice.org=microsoft office

Inkscape=Illustrator

Foxit Reader=Adobe Reader

Audacity=Sony Acid

Thunderbird=Outlook

Google Chrome/Mozilla Firefox= Internet Explorer

Linux=Microsoft Windows/Microsoft Windows Server (also most of your smart phones run this)

Lots of times theres software thats created that really has no commercial counterpart, like Google Earth, a free and useful program that lets you explore and discover any location on earth.

Open source software is a different model than most of us are used to in our day to day lives. In most cases the software model is  Giant corporation + overworked developers + corporate profit + advertising = high priced crap.  Lets look at the open source model  No corporation + millions of developers that write software because they like to, or because they want new features + no huge advertising budged = free or really low cost, amazingly high quality software applications maintained by the people that love them.

I'm sure you can all remember a time when your office had some kind of old accounting software, and it was a large investment. Fast forward 5-10 years, the software company is probably out of business, or they were bought up by some larger company and now you have to call a different company to try to get support, or Microsoft has released 5 more versions of windows and find yourself trapped with old computers that you cannot upgrade because of the software and you cant open your emails because office wont run on windows 95.  We understand the battle. Open source software bypasses the majority of these concerns and several more.  Lots of the Open source projects like different versions of Linux have been around for a LOT longer than the vast majority of "popular" commercial applications.  Since most of open source community donates their time and it has such a low cost of running, they seem to stay open a lot easier for a lot longer on just donations than most mid sized software companies with their bloatie corporate model.  

Lets take a minute to talk about security.  When you are corporate robot company A and you develop a piece of software that a hacker figures a way to exploit,  first you have to pay someone to sit and watch for it, then pay a team to come up with a fix to patch it.  This can cost quite a bit of money, so often times they will just wait and wait and build up a few different patches and then they will charge you for a "updated" version of their software, so for that whole period of time your data sits there vulnerable.  Back to open source for a moment, the open source community is who does most of the reporting of the vulnerabilities in the software so this means they know about it first, and most likely the people who write the software use the software, since its in their own best interest to write a fix for it, and since the code for the software is "open source" they can download it fix it and submit their change to the community, then you as the user get the automatic update when you start up your application.  This means your sensitive data is more secure than using commercially available alternatives.

Open Source Software is like a living entity, always growing and changing, evolving and improving,  I hope I've inspired you to check some of it out.