If you love software, set it free…
If you still think that FLOSS is just something you do after you have brushed your teeth, you have not yet joined the ranks of those realising the benefits and potencial of Free Libre and Open Source Software (FLOSS).
“Free” means the software gives you “freedom”, but it is not necessarily always cost free. With FLOSS you can view the source code of a program and if you have the technical know-how, you can alter that code to enhance the program. With proprietary software the code is hidden. You are also allowed to copy and share Free and Open Source Software and do not need a registration code, as is the case with proprietary software.
The Free Software Movement, consisting of people who believed that if you love software you should set it free, started in the early 1980’s. It culminated in the Free Software Foundation, founded in 1985 by Richard Stallman. They are “dedicated to promoting computer users’ right to use, study, copy, modify and redistribute computer programs”.
Groups working on a tight budget such as non-governmental organisations, community based organisations and small businesses are increasingly making use of this type of software. Even government has realised the potencial of FLOSS, announcing in 2007 that they would migrate to Free and Open Source Software. However, they have not fully implemented the use of FLOSS yet.
Free and Open Source Software can also be used for education in resource-poor schools and by entrepreneurs trying to make a living.
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