7. Open source software

All the software we have discussed so far have been commercial products. But there is an alternative - namely completely free software. This is called 'open source' software.

Open source software has been developed by volunteer programmers with the intention of making available free-to-use applications.

There are licence conditions attached to this free software, for example that you can't sell it yourself and if you modify the source code in some way to make it even better, then your version must be free as well.

Perhaps the most well known open source office-type application is 'Open Office'. This is a full featured set of applications offering word-processing, spreadsheet and presentation functions.

Advantages of open source sw
Disadvantages of open source sw
Free to use May not contain as many features as the equivalent commercial application
Can open most documents and files created by proprietary software (e.g. Microsoft Word) May not have as much bug-fixing support and security patches as commercial versions
Fairly intuitive to learn, if you know how to use the Microsoft Office suite then you won't have a problem using something like Open Office Not all of the software applications that you wish to use have an open source version available
If you have skilled programmers to hand, the source code can be adapted to suit your particular needs (that is what 'open source' means) Because industry and universities tend to use Microsoft Office, schools feel under pressure to stick to the 'industry standard' software


Challenge see if you can find out one extra fact on this topic that we haven't already told you

Click on this link: Open Source Software