- What is open source software?
Is the software that grants users the freedom to use, modify and redistribute an application.
This means that we can use it with educational, commercial or non-commercial purposes. We can customize it and adapt it to our needs and we can redistribute it without no restrictions. As examples of open source software, we have Firefox, LibreOffice, Gimp...
- What is propietary software?
- How do I find open source software?
When you are looking for software, you can find some apps that have the license "free (open source)".
Also you can go to our Open source software site.
- What is the difference between free software (freeware) and open source software?
The freeware license only says that is free (you can use it with no money cost). But it not necessary means that this program allows the freedom to use, modify an distribute it.
For example, a freeware app usually don't allow a commercial use and it don't share its font code to allow modifications.
- Why is open source software free?
This is an common mistake. The open source software is not necessary free. Sometimes, when we talk about "free software" we refers to "freedom" and not the price.
Usually the open source software is free, because the developers offers it as an altruistic gift or because the business is in offering support services and not in sell the program. To know more, in our magazine Milbits you can read an article about "How open source software makes money".
If we consider the money cost of an application, we should consider, not only the purchasing cost, but also the learning time, support and maintenance. At home this only means time, but at companies these costs can be very important. This way, some open source programs can be expensive for them than the proprietary alternatives.
- When the open source software can be useful?
Most users search for free apps, and many open source apps can reach these expectations. But if you are looking for certain features, maybe you'll have to pay for proprietary software.
Anyway, at PortalProgramas we recommend you to search for open source alternatives if you don't want to buy software. For example: do you want to use full version of Microsoft Office and you consider its price too expensive? Try another version (like Office Web Apps) or use an open source alternative like LibreOffice. Is also very good and can be an excellent application.
Nowadays is very common to hack programs with cracks and searched serial numbers. This is illegal, and you can broke your machine doing this. Many times these pirating tools bring viruses and many kinds of malware to your computer. And foremost, you'll have an outdated version, without any support. For this reason, we recommend free open source software over piracy.
- Who offers technical support for open source software?
Technical support is one way to earn money for open source companies. For this reason, many developing companies offer it .
Other kind of support is the community help. In forums and chats, experimented users offers help and guides to other software users.
And about open source software warranty? Most times these apps are released as they are, with its code available for all. For this reason no one is responsible for the damages an app can do. Some open source companies, but includes too warranty licenses.
- Has proprietary software more quality than open source software?
It depends in every case. Usually proprietary software has a big company behind, and can offer more features and support. But an open source program can overcome its proprietary alternative, thanks to its community work and ideas.
- Is open source software useful for companies and governments?
Yes, it is. Or at least, it can be (it depends on the application). Open source software can be a very cheap solution, and even the best one.
But open source apps also can have a learning period for workers. This time means also money, and maybe the difficulty of change licenses don't woth the effort.
For this reason, companies and governments have to study every case with great detail, to determine if they really will benefit from open source.
- Who develops open source software?
Some people can think that open source software is mostly developed by amateur programmers at their free time. It happens, but also there are open source companies with workers that earn a salary. The same as proprietary software.
But yes, we can find many open source apps developed for free in a selflessly way. For example, Mozilla (developers of Firefox) is a non-profit organization.
- All open source apps has the same freedoms?
Nope. In open source you can find different licenses, like GPL, BSD, Mozilla Public License... all licenses have the same basic features of the open source concept, but the details can be different.
- Why many open source apps are abandoned?
Open source software has 3 requirements to keep on: to resolve a need, to have a big amount of users and a good developer's community to support it. Many programs don't reach some of these requirements and finally they have to be abandoned.
This happens in all kind of software, not only open source.
- How open source software makes money?
Behind open source software there are altruistic developers, but also companies that get monetary profit.
There are open source business, but it have a different focus if we compare with proprietary companies. Proprietary companies earns money with license selling, and open source earns money selling additional services or technical support.
You can find an extensive article about how open source software makes money in our IT blog.
- What stops open source expansion?
There are some points to consider:
- Open source software can be cheaper than proprietary software, but we have to consider the learning time, or the compatibility issues.
- We have to study if the software support is enough for a company or government.
- We don't find always the same features or quality in an open source alternative. It always depends on the program that we are looking for.
Besides of this, many companies don't try open source alternatives because the misinformation, and the easiness of maintain the same work model.