Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

‘Free’ comes at a cost

Filed under
OSS

I READ with great interest the article (Open up and be free, StarMag April 15) by Dzof Azmi. It was a nice change to see that an important topic often discussed by “techies” is finally explained in layman’s terms rather than technical jargon.

While I applaud the writer’s attempt to explain Open Source Software (OSS), I think readers should be made aware that there is a lot more to this issue.

Firstly, there is still a lot of confusion over the term OSS. It is called “Open Source” not because it is free but because the user can look at the source code and is free to make any changes he likes and distribute it under certain terms.

Note that not everybody can make these changes since you’d need to understand the coding first.

Only GNU Free software is free software. (GNU is a recursive acronym for “GNU’s Not Unix”; it is pronounced guh-noo, approximately like canoe. For more information, visit www.gnu.org.

Open Source has a cost. The cost is setting up the software (if you have the skills) and you may have to engage the services of others to run it. This involves spending time and money.

I believe Malaysians don’t use open source software because of the lack of knowledge and skills in configuring the computer.

Windows hides its implementation under the hood, so it’s easy to use. Mac does the same thing but costs a lot more. Linux and FreeBSD expose their guts to the user, which makes the software scarier to the uninitiated.

Only technically proficient users can bear using Linux or FreeBSD on a daily basis.

Full Story.

More in Tux Machines

Firefox OS media-casting stick strikes Kickstarter gold

The first Firefox OS based media player has arrived on Kickstarter, in the form of a $25 open-spec HDMI stick that supports Chromecast-like content casting. The Matchstick, which has already zoomed past its Kickstarter campaign’s $100,000 funding goal, with 28 days still remaining, was teased back in June by Mozilla developer evangelist Christian Heilmann. The unnamed prototype was billed as an open source HDMI stick that runs Mozilla’s Linux-based Firefox OS and offers casting capabilities. Few details were revealed at the time except that the device used the same DIAL (DIscovery And Launch) media-casting protocol created by Netflix and popularized by Google’s Chromecast. Read more

Open source history, present day, and licensing

Looking at open source softwares particularly, this is a fact that is probably useful to you if you are thinking about business models, many people don't care about it anymore. We talk about FOSS, Free and Open Source Software, but if we really are strict there's a difference between free software and open source software. On the left, I have free software which most typically is GPL software. Software where the license insures freedom. It gives freedoms to you as a user, but it also requires that the freedoms are maintained. On the right-hand side, you have open source software which is open for all, but it also allows you to close it. So here we come back to the famous clause of the GPL license, the reciprocity requirement which says, "If I am open, you need to be open." So software that comes under the GPL license carries with it something that other people call a virus. I call it a blessing because I think it's great if all software becomes open. Read more

Leftovers: Software

Proprietary

today's howtos