FOSS…why use it?

ice covered berries

Icestorm – December 2013

Well we can think of a number of different reasons. We also do understand that for some people and their needs, FOSS may not provide all they need. Nor do I believe that FOSS software is per definition better or safer in use than proprietary software.

But for us there are and have always been enough good reasons to use FOSS software either on its own or in combination with proprietary software. But the reasons for it also have a lot to do with the fact that we are developers and experimentors.

So here are the reasons which come to mind and which apply to our preference for using mostly FOSS software:

        • price of course;
        • community based support;
        • open file formats;
        • ample choice;
        • mostly good enough for our needs;
        • no use impediments.

Price needs to be seen as more of a reason than just the purchase price for any given piece of software. As developers and experimentors, we like to fully try out all kinds of software before we commit to it. If we had to pay for the ones we keep using as well as for the ones we abandoned, we would end up really poor. We often try to use software on different systems. If we needed to buy separate licenses for each install… We often move from one system to another, or drastically update hardware. Proprietary software often takes a dim view of these practices. Small businesses do not need to buy additional licenses as they expand their workforce. Free lancers can choose the software most appropriate for a given project and then abandon it, moving on to their next project, using different tools and yet not spending more money. That is what I mean by no use impediments.

Chris Rogiers for CeaRO Corporation, January 16th, 2014

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