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Free Software

The Free Software Foundation has the best definition of free software. Some well-known examples are Linux, Apache, PHP, Openoffice - but there are many, many more. Nearly all major applications have been implemented as free software.

Why use free software? Some of the many reasons include:

  • More control: free software is open source. If the software doesn't do exactly what you want, you can pay someone to change it. You can't do that with proprietary software unless you are a very large company indeed.
  • No lock-in: proprietary software often uses formats which can't be read by other software. Free software uses open formats, which allow you to change programmes when you need to.
  • Lower prices: you don't pay any licensing fees, so support is the only cost. And you decide if you need to pay for that.
  • Cumulative improvement: with proprietary software, the best you can hope for is that the help desk actually replies. With free software it is the feedback from users that drives improvement of the software - feedback which can be anything from bug reports to changes to make the code work how you prefer it.