Software Freedom Day

Note: This was posted on Multiply on September 20, 2008. To view current blog entries, click here.

Today, the University of the Philippines (UNPLUG) is celebrating Software Freedom Day (SFD), a day dedicated for the success of Free Open Source Software (FOSS) against an imperialistic digital software world.

Since today is FD, we will talk about FOSS and its success in the corporate market.

FOSS, as said above, is open source and free. Open source means that the code is readily available, meaning that anyone can take a look at the code, improve ot, and use it for creating other applications, provided certain license conditions are met. Meanwhile, the word “free” means the usage of the software binds you to no specific company, though the software itself may be or may not free in terms of cost, though open source software is a lot cheaper compared to closed software.

Open source software is currently gaining popularity, and some reasons are:

  1. Free. Although not all, open source software is generally free of charge. And the freedom from a specific company implies that you can make multiple copies of the software without fearing of piracy charges.

  2. Open Source. Because the code is open for viewing and editing, developers are free to make modifications and improvements to the code. And since it is open source, the code can be modified and/or integrated to other programs, provided certain license agreements are followed.

  3. Support. Though not as good as those provided by closed source software makers (though this is changing), software support is widely available, ranging from the official documentation made by the programmer(s) to the online forums that proliferate the net.

  4. Popularity. With the growing popularity of open source, it is expected that many programmers write more open source alternatives to current closed software.

Of course, opposition is always available:

  1. Market domination. Closed source software, such as Microsoft Windows, dominate the market, and therefore have a greater hold of the market share. This is augmented by the fact that the open source movement only started during the ’90s, a somewhat late timing.

  2. Refusal to change. Because switching from a popular program to a not-so-popular one entails cost, most people refuse to change.

  3. Compatibility. Some open source programs are simply not compatible with the currently in-use systems. Also, the people themselves may not be comfortable of using the alternative.

  4. Popularity. Closed source software, also called proprietary programs, are more popular than their open-source counterparts, e.g. Adobe Photoshop over GIMP.

Some Open Source Programs

If you are willing to experiment, here are some of the open source programs that you can try. Some of them are already popular, and some may need some time to master. Almost all of these programs don’t cost a centavo, and are available for download.

Open Source Program

Replaces

Description

1. Linux, FreeBSD, Solaris

Windows, Mac OS X

Popular open source operating systems. Solaris is made by Sun Microsystems.

2. Firefox, Iceweasel, Seamonkey, Konqueror

Internet Explorer

A very popular alternative to IE, Firefox holds currently 20% of the market share. Seamonkey and Iceweasel are both good alternatives to Firefox. Konqueror is the default browser of KDE-based Linux distributions.

3. Amarok, Rhythmbox

Windows Media Player

These are good replacements to Windows Media Player. Amarok is the default in KDE-based Linux distributions, while Rhythmbox is the default for GNOME-based distributions.

4. OpenOffice, KOffice

Microsoft Office

A very popular replacement for MS Office, OpenOffice is a very good free office suite. KOffice is a KDE-based office suite.

5. Abiword

Microsoft Word

A very good replacement for MS Word, Abiword is a stand-alone, fast loading word processor.

6. GIMP

Adobe Photoshop

GIMP is a free alternative to Adobe Photoshop.

7. Blender 3D

A free 3D image rendering and editing program.

8. Sunbird

iCal

Sunbird is a free stand-alone calendar application program, or a plugin of Firefox.

9. Thunderbird

Microsoft Outlook

A free, powerful alternative to MS Outlook

10. Brasero, k3b

Nero

These programs are free alternatives to the Nero burning software. Brasero is the default for GNOME-based distributions, while k3b is the default for KDE-based distros.

11. Wine

Windows emulator for Linux systems (and maybe Mac). Allows Windows executable files to be executed natively in Linux systems. Note: WINE means “Wine Is Not an Emulator”.

12. VirtualBox

VMware, Hyper-V

Free virtualization software produced by Sun Microsystems.

13. Compiz Fusion

A free windows manager for Linux (only). Enables many effects like background rain and the desktop cube.

14. Notepad++

Notepad

An advanced notepad, offering more capabilities than the default notepad in Windows. Recommended for programmers. For Windows only. Can run under Wine.

15. Wbinclock

Binary clock for Linux.

16. Kchmviewer

.chm file viewer for Linux

17. Transmission

Free bittorrent client

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1 Puna

Filed under Archives, Multiply

One response to “Software Freedom Day

  1. Blogwalking ..
    nice posting i found here,.. thanks for the info

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