What is Open Source Software?
Open Source is a phrase coined to help steer people away from the term "free software", which can cause many to think the software itself is free. "Free software" is free as in freedom, but may not nessarily have a free price tag.
"Free software" provides you with the following four freedoms:
- The freedom to run the program, for any purpose (freedom 0).
- The freedom to study how the program works, and change it so it does your computing as you wish (freedom 1). Access to the source code is a precondition for this.
- The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor (freedom 2).
- The freedom to distribute copies of your modified versions to others (freedom 3). By doing this you can give the whole community a chance to benefit from your changes. Access to the source code is a precondition for this.
Whichever term you choose to use, the Frugal Web Guy works to provide training materials for software released under the GNU Public License (or derivatives), as these licenses provides the freedoms outlined above. Use the software as you wish and share it with friends and family.
Frugal Web Guy also develops training materials for cross platform software, meaning they will work for you whether you use Windows, MacOS or even a flavor of Linux, like I do!
Why Use Open Source?
Let's take a quick look at the top 3 reasons to use Open Source / Free Software:
- Freedom to use as you wish
Compared to closed source software, which tells you how to use and where to use your software, open source / free software gives you the freedom to use the software in any way you wish to use it. Use it for personal use or business use. It does not matter.
- Freedom to modify
Have some programming ability? Take a look at the underlying code and make any changes you desire. Set up the software to work the way you want it to work. You can even contribute your changes back to the community to help others.
- Freedom to share
Closed source software keeps you locked in with licensing keys and restrictions on how the software can be used. You cannot "legally" give someone a copy, but not so with open source / free software. In fact, if you can get someone to pay you a fee for a copy or even to install it, go right ahead.