Search 72,558 tutors
FIND TUTORS

Open Source

Why do we spend so much money on software? Is it because there is no other option?

No! The truth is that just about every personal computer need can be fulfilled via open-source software!

What is open-source software?

Normally, when we purchase software, we are purchasing a compiled program that allows us to run it; if we have an idea for improving the application, we can only sit back and say "wouldn't it be nice..."

Open-source software is freely distributed (although you may see it included in commercial packages such as Red Hat Linux) and includes source code. There is nothing prohibiting us from altering the application to our liking; in fact, it is standard practice to make changes or additions to the source code and redistribute it.

Even those who are not so tech-savvy can recognize the obvious benefit of free software. Here are some of the most popular open-source packages:

Firefox - A fully functioning web browser with consistent updates - from Mozilla.
OpenOffice - Provides all the functionality of Microsoft Office without cost - from Oracle.
AVG (Free) - An extremely thorough anti-virus program.
Miro - Media player/converter.
Audacity - Record and edit sound files.
GIMP - Image manipulation program packed full of great features.

So, the next time you are about to spend big bucks on a "necessary" software package, take a minute to Google the name of the program along with the term open-source. You may be very pleasantly surprised.

Comments

Excellent information!

I want to add one thing. I have noticed that open source applications are often far superior in stability and often have the widest range of features. This puzzled me at first. It would be reasonable to assume that an application built by paid developers would be better than one built by volunteers. On closer consideration it can be found that professional development has a different goal than those cooperatively developing software voluntarily. A company has profit as their ultimate goal. Those contributing to open source are more focused on the product itself. I suppose that is just one more way our monetary based society is flawed. Thank you for your insightful article.
Sorry. I have one more comment. At the time that your article was written AVG (Free) was a good application. It is no longer a good application. AVG (Free or otherwise) now attacks vulnerability in current web browsers to take intrusive unauthorized control. For example it modifies your home page preference to become your new home page. So you become forced to go to AVG Search anytime you would ordinarily go to your preferred home page like Google.com or Duck Duck Go. Of course this is the not the type of behavior you would expect from an application that is supposed to prevent such intrusion. Basically AVG is now playing the dirt card by taking advantage of our trust for their profit and gain. Allow me to add, "those cheating low life scumbags".