Open Source Questions and Answers

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John Perez is a college Freshman who is doing an argumentative paper on Open-Source applications. He sent me a list of questions that I am going to answer in simple terms. Also, we’re using our GoToMeeting to allow you to follow along with everyone as they use Open-Source applications.

What do you think Open-Source stands for and signifies? It’s a fundamental shift in how we think about software, its use and development. Unfortunately, I’m not a Developer. The mainstream still believes that you must walk into a store to buy software. That simply isn’t the case. There are tremendous alternatives to major applications that are available legally for free, via Open-Source.

What would be the advantages or disadvantages of adopting standards? Imagine you had 1000 people in the same room, all with different great ideas. How impossible would it be to get them all to agree on ONE idea? I look at things differently than most standards committees. There are politics inside the Open-Source community. But, for the common good, coming together to agree on a set of standards would be amazing, and make the community stronger.

For businesses, what do you think would be the effects of adopting standards? It depends on the business model. I am able to exist as a business online largely due to Open-Source programs and applications. Much of this is accomplished using Apache.

In the US, many Universities have made a switch to Open-Source. What do you think caused them to make the switch, and what will it take to get others to follow? I think it boils down to cost. Universities have lost large amounts of money from the government. One way to help keep tuition costs down, is to obtain good software alternatives for free. You also have to look at the education factor, by being able to turn the Open-Source applications into learning tools.

What would be the effects of using Open-Source in homes? We’re seeing a lot of lower-cost computers. Instead of having to pay a licensing fee, you can get an Open-Source Linux Distro. You can also obtain software for almost any type of program you need, from image editing to web browsing and email applications. This will save household consumers quite a lot of money.

Are there there sufficient Open-Source alternatives to proprietary software suites? Absolutely!! Open Office can replace your existing office suite for free. The Gimp can replace your image editing software. FireFox can replace your web browser. For 99% of the population, Open-Source is a GREAT alternative.

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