A question that I, and many others get, is why do I choose to use FOSS (Free and Open Source Software) instead of proprietary software? For a long time ago I was a “Microsoft-junkie”, programming in Visual Studio and certified as a MCP (Microsoft Certified Professional) in a few languages. I had Linux, mostly Red Hat Linux, installed on an old 486. Playing around with it a little when I was bored. But suddenly something happened.
I saw the light in the end of the tunnel. I started to get interested in how an Operating System worked, and read some article about how and why Linus Torvalds started working on the Linux Kernel. I read about the GNU project, and started to like the idea behind it all. At the same time the world started to noticing that Windows was as secure as hanging your key to your house on a nail on the outside of your frontdoor. I started to get frustrated at reinstalling Windows 98 about once a month, because it just got slower and slower for every day that passed, and I got tired of seeing the “Blue Screen Of Death”.
I was really into webdesign and programming ASP at that moment, so I had to have Windows installed, so I could work with Dreamweaver and Flash and that stuff. But I dualbooted to Linux whenever the workday was over.
Over the years I have used Windows less and less, and several Linux distributions more and more. For a few years ago, I can say that I finally and fully went over to the free side. I can admit that Windows 7 was among the best Microsoft had done, at least for the desktop user. When Windows 8 was out, I felt that “No way, I’m going back!” That was a total crash for Microsoft. It’s just so bad designed.
As for Linux, I’m using Ubuntu, Fedora and CentOS today. I have choosed to use FOSS as much as I can. I have no problem to pay for software that I need. But then I must feel that the developer has done a really good work developing it.
As I see it, the main reasons for using FOSS today is:
Open source projects usually have a large and welcoming community around them. Just look at the Ubuntu community; its great. An answer to your questions are never longer away than a few mouse clicks. The community really makes you want to be involved in the project.
The most software I use are free, as in free beer. I just got sick of chasing pirate copies of all the software I wanted to have in Windows. As I said, now I dont have any problems to pay for the software as long as I feel that the developer(s) made a good work. Its much easier to see if they done a good work if I can see the sourcecode.
Freedom to learn and evolv:
I really like the fact that I can make changes in the source code and make the software work as I want them to, without breaking any law or something. Then I’m programming, I can watch at others code and learn how they did it. Share knowledge and learn more.
Open source software tends to be more secure. The more eyes watching the code, the more security holes get noticed and fixed. I mean, come on, just google on how many security faults that is found in Windows every day! The number of security holes in Windows and Linux can’t really be compared, because it’s built so differently. Linux is better and more secured constructed from the beginning.
I believe that Linux really is ready for the enterprice desktop now. Maybe not in some markets, like the graphics industry. They need to be working on their Mac-computers a while more. I get really happy every time I read about some large companies, authority or government switched to Linux and free software.
Thats some of the reasons why I love Linux and FOSS. I can talk in hours why I have choosen to work with the free and open side instead of the proprietary side, and I’m sure I will write more about it later here in the blog.