Firstly, as a definition, free and open source software is – as copied from Wikipedia – “freely licensed to use, copy, study, and change the software in any way, and the source code is openly shared so that people are encouraged to voluntarily improve the design of the software. This is in contrast to proprietary software, where the software is under restrictive copyright and the source code is usually hidden from the users.”
5 benefits of using free and open source software:
1) It’s free! – that’s right, it doesn’t cost a bean! For instance, when it comes to operating systems it adds tens of pounds onto the cost of your laptop or computer when buying it with Windows or Mac – whereas a Linux operating system (which is free and open source) costs nothing! We have used Linux for over 7 years now on our laptops and desktop computers and it’s one of the best decisions we have ever made.
2) It’s flexible and adaptable – because it is made by a community of people rather than a big corporation with the profit motive driving it, you have the ability to be creative and flexible when using it and making sure it’s adaptable for what you want. You also don’t need to just buy one type of product, meaning you are more of a producer than a straight up consumer.
3) Lots of choice – in a similar vein, there is a lot of choice when it comes to free and open source software. For instance, in terms of operating systems there many different types of distributions – where Linux is the overarching term for all these different types of open source and free software operating systems – including Ubuntu, Linux Mint, Fedora, Lubuntu, Elementary, Puppy Linux, Ubuntu Studio etc.; all providing something different and unique for the users.
4) Less viruses and safer – most viruses are designed to infect Windows and to a lesser extent Mac, whereas viruses designed for free and open source software such as Linux are really limited and therefore it tends to be a lot safer.
5) Needs less space – it can literally breathe new life into your old technology given that it doesn’t need that much space to run, for instance in terms of operating systems there are lighter distributions such as Peppermint OS that are perfect for computers and laptops that are older.
We are big fans and users of open source technology, using this at home and also at work with both Libre Digital and AFC Unity making use of it where possible too. We can provide help with using open source and free technology via Jay & Jane – please get in touch for more.