Open Source software is popular for desktops and servers. Many of the most popular websites run on open source software including Facebook, Twitter and WordPress. Many popular applications like Firefox, VLC, GIMP and LibreOffice are also open source. Open source software is public. Anyone can inspect, modify, and enhance it.
Does Open Source Mean “Free”?
There are two kinds of “Free”.
Free as in “Free Beer” – no cost, no charge. Most open source programs have no purchase price, but that doesn’t define open source. Many open source vendors offer paid support, training and other ways of generating revenue. Some proprietary software is also provided at no cost, but you can only use it in the limited way they allow.
Free as in “Freedom” – freedom to use, inspect, modify and redistribute. This is what defines open source.
What are Some Examples of Open Source?
- Firefox – web browser
- Thunderbird – email client
- Filezilla – FTP client
- VLC – media player
- LibreOffice – complete office suite for documents, spreadsheets, drawing, presentations, etc.
- GIMP – image editing, free competitor to Photoshop
- Inkscape – vector editor, competitor to Adobe Illustrator
- WordPress – web content management system
- Linux – complete operating system, replacement for Mac and Windows.
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