What is Open Source Software, and how can it benefit you? Open Source Software is free software that allows you to use it, modify it, or as "Nixie Pixie" says, "can do almost anything" that the more expensive software options offer. In today's economy, Open Source software can allow a family to save money and still have the latest computer software for their computer.
The concept is not entirely new. According to Wikipedia, "The concept of open source and the free sharing of technological information existed long before computers existed.
For computer software, the move toward Open Source Software offers computer users alternatives to some of the more expensive products on the consumer market. Some of the alternatives are arguably better and more secure than their commercial counterparts.
For example if you wished, you could replace your entire Windows operating system with Linux. Linux is an Open Source and free operating system. Linux is a good replacement if your slightly older computer hard-drive were to crash. In an ever environmentally friendly world, the alternative to tossing a computer in the trash, or loading an alternative operating system seemed a more friendly to the environment.
One example of what I believe is a superior product is the Mozilla Firefox browser. While many computer users are content to continue along using the Internet browser supplied with their computer, legions of serious computer users have gone to the free Firefox browser seeking a more secure and safer browser experience.
In a statement Mozilla states, "Firefox 3.5 was built through Mozilla’s global, open source development process. The Mozilla community comprises thousands of passionate contributors, including experienced developers, security experts, localization and support communities in more than 60 countries, and tens of thousands of active testers. With more than 300 million active users, Firefox is the only popular Web browser created by a non-profit organization".
Another is Open Office which is an alternative to the more popular commercial program Microsoft Office®. This program offers all of the components of its competitors, and files created on it can also be opened in the alternative program.