What is Free Software and Open Source?

According to the Free Software Foundation free software provides you four freedoms: Both cases deal with the same matter. The difference is in branding. For me its not about differences between free software and open source but about the practice. In practice Open source is like a tool which we can use according to our needs. It can be used at home for hobbies or in an commercial enterprise. Google, Facebook, Twitter and the largest enterprises in the world use open source. They have developers to combine or extend it and create the tools we know. Open source is like a scissor for haircutting. Eventhough everybody has a scissor at home you may ask if your mother should cut your hairs or if you should go to a professional hairdresser.

Some hairdressers are good and some are for stars and paid well. In any case the tool is the same: A scissor. The same is the case for open source. Open source software and the concept of multi-eye reviews and publicity are ensured by licenses and generally yield to better security. This doesn’t apply to all products and depends on the community and on the people involved. But this advantage holds true. Quality and security are a main reason why experts are required. Quality can only be ensured through appropriate development processes such as four-eye principle. This is inherent to the open source community because of it’s open nature many people review. The same processes need to be applied to customization projects for enterprises.

Many people who know nothing about free software say that it can’t be used to earn money and doesn’t fit into the enterprise industry and is a different sphere. In fact both models go well together. If software is complex and needs to be explained, it doesn’t matter whether its open source or proprietary software. Know-how is required to deploy software according to the particular case of the enterprise.

It’s not sufficient to download and install software but user training, operations and further software maintenance are important. To ensure success these aspects require know-how and appropriate processes.

The idea of open source is not limited to software. There are other areas like open content, open knowdlege such as Wikipedia, open design and open hardware. Open source hardware can be analysed, rebuilt and has various options for further development. We are in an early stage but can progress step by step. Such possibilities work well for open source software. Why they shouldn’t work for hardware as well?.

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Aatif riaz is a professional writer and SEO professional. He loves to write articles about health and technology.

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