Saturday, April 4, 2015

Free and Open-Source Software

Imagine you discovered how to make a delicious cake. You are the only person in the world who knows how to make it. It is so tasty that you could make a fortune selling it. What would you do?

If the first thought that came to your mind is to start a bakery and make profit out of selling the cake, think again.

There would have been one point in your life when you did not know what a cake is. From that point, all your knowledge about cakes came from people around you. Sure, you made a discovery with your own effort, but the world empowered you to make that discovery.

Now imagine, instead of making profit out of the cake, you let the recipe out. You let everyone in the world know how to make your cake. Suddenly, you are making a lot of people happy.

Slowly, others modify your recipe to make even better cakes. Even you enjoy the new variations. And the whole world is grateful to you. You are immensely satisfied.

But the world is not fair. Sometimes the world goes for less tasty, but heavily advertised cakes with top-secret recipes. And you wilt away into oblivion while the world conveniently forgets about your beautiful contribution to the world. The picture isn't so rosy, is it?

Image: "Free Software" by user ryyo on flickr


Replace the cake with software and you just read a small introduction to the Free and Open-Source Software (FOSS) philosophy.

If FOSS, "anyone is freely licensed to use, copy, study, and change the software in any way, and the source code is openly shared so that people are encouraged to voluntarily improve the design of the software."

Creating such software most often does not bring economic prosperity to the developer (the person or group who creates the software). But to a large extent, they always enjoy the satisfaction that is obtained from people's appreciation of what they have made. Also, the world gains so much because others can make contributions (extra features, fixing security bugs), which will again benefit everyone using the software.

But we do not code, what can we do? We can not be a cruel world. We can support this cooperative culture and appreciate the effort of those developers who are willing to share, learn, and create better products that we all use daily to make our lives easier.

Here is a list of most common FOSS packages for you to use.
Mozilla Firefox - for browsing
GIMP - for photo editing
Libre Office - for word processing, spreadsheet, presentations, etc.
VLC - for playing media files
7-zip - for file compression
(compiled from) Wikipedia - for sharing knowledge!

(ɔ)  Copyleft (No rights reserved)

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