Free and open-source software/What is so good about it?

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Revision as of 22:47, 15 January 2007 by CharlesC (Talk | contribs)

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This needs a complete re-hash...it was originally spare text from somewhere else

Commercial software has restrictions on what you can do with it, such as not giving a copy to your friend, and this imposes an artificial scarcity so that the developers are in a position to charge money for it. In the domain of the internet where it costs almost nothing to replicate or download software this model starts to break down.

Because of the mutual benefits, open source projects encourage collaboration on an almost unheard of scale, as well as promoting rapid evolution and stability of the applications being developed (one might normally consider the last two properties as being mutually exclusive). There are now high quality open source projects filling every major category of software application, including entire operating systems for your computer. And they are all free - free of charge and free to modify.

What goes around comes around

If the software is useful to many people then there is a wide audience who can get involved. People are motivated to contribute because the result of their work benefits many people. Someone putting in effort on an open-source software project knows there are similar minded people putting in effort on other software projects that will be useful to them also. So what goes around comes around.