Evelynhone/Introduction to Open Source/Introduction
Many people like Open Source for many reasons, here is an overview of some of the more important reasons. You can read through these if you're not sure you want to try Open Source yet, or you can continue to the pages describing actual programs you can use.
- Security: Open Source Software suffers from fewer security vulnerabilities than Microsoft products.
- Features: Open Source programs tend to have more advanced features and customizability than proprietary products
- Cost: Open Source Software is FREE. You pay nothing for a very high quality product.
- Community: In the Open Source development community, any skilled individual can contribute to projects in many ways.
Open Source Software packages are almost always more secure than proprietary options, especially Microsoft. In fact, the US Computer Emergency Readiness Team has recommended using web browsers other than Microsoft's Internet Explorer, and many people are turning to the Open Source Firefox web browser for a more secure solution. Furthermore, a large percentage of the Internet's web servers use an Open Source linux server running Apache, because it is more secure than Microsoft's own IIS web server technology.
Because Open Source programs are often programmed by people who use them, they tend to have much more advanced features. The Firefox web browser for example has dozens of extensions made by users for advanced searching capabilities, mouse gestures, and more. The Linux operating system has commands like dd (for raw copying) readily available which would require advanced knowledge to replicate on Windows. Also, if a feature you want is not available, you can email the programmer and ask for it, or if you know enough, you can do it yourself because the source code is always available!. For an expert system administrator, people who use computers for a large portion of the day, or even someone who wants to be able to do more, Open Source programs offer far more flexibility and power.
Open Source Software is free! You can install a version of Linux with Open Office for free, and you will be able to go online, type documents, create spreadsheets, and email friends without paying for any expensive software at all.
In the Open Source community, any individual can take the freely available source code of any project, modify it to suit their needs, and release it back into the community. This is one of the reasons why Open Source programs can be so good, because many people work on them to give them high quality features. The Open Source Community is also free of the predatory business practices of companies like Microsoft.