Top 10 Benefits of Using Free Software
Today’s society promotes a culture of proprietary software, which is beneficial to everyone. On our computers, the vast majority of us have always utilised exclusively proprietary software. Our children are being taught to utilise it as well, but they are only partially or entirely aware of the benefits that free software offers and how to access it.
The provision of educational services to students is a significant source of revenue for several proprietary software manufacturers. Furthermore, it is a significant chance for these companies to familiarise future adults with their products and maintain their supremacy indefinitely. They spend a significant amount of money on marketing to gain the support of educational institutions. As a supporter of open-source software, I believe proprietary software is incompatible with education since users are only passive consumers who are legally barred from inspecting the source code of the programme they use. The use of computers for education should be completely free. It should not be used as a means for corporations to maintain their software monopoly in the market.
I’m not discounting the idea that proprietary software can be both powerful and dependable in some situations. It, on the other hand, does not respect the users’ freedom. Only when software respects the freedom of its users can it be regarded to be serving them. Although it has been reported that designers have included malicious features such as spying on users, restricting their use, forcing them to accept upgrades, and so forth. Furthermore, some states in the United States even brag about their cooperation with proprietary software vendors such as Microsoft, which they do by taking freebies, whether or not they are aware of the negative consequences of employing proprietary software in society.
No Corporate Obligations
Free software, on the other hand, provides pupils with an opportunity to experiment and learn. This post is aimed at those individuals who are not aware of the advantages of utilising free software and are interested in learning more.
1) Available at minimal cost
It is not true that free software is equivalent to zero-cost software. The vast majority of current open source projects are indeed available for free, but this creates uncertainty around the phrase “free software,” which is often used. The typical adage goes: “Think free as in freedom of expression (freedom) rather than free as in no cost beer (zero costs).” The use of free software helps to reduce the cost of production. The development of a system such as Microsoft Windows costs millions of dollars. In contrast, if you were to build the same type of system using a free POSIX version, the cost would most likely be less than one hundred dollars.
2) Provides full freedom
Initially, computer manufacturers focused solely on hardware innovation, failing to see that software was a valuable financial asset. The reason for this was because the majority of computer users were scientists and technicians who were capable of modifying the software themselves, therefore hardware was distributed with the software already installed. Later on, high-level programming languages were developed that were compatible with practically any type of computer, making them widely used. This implied that even less efficient hardware design may be improved to function more efficiently. Because of this, profit margins for hardware producers who were at the forefront of design advances and regarded hardware to be their only business assets suffered. They had to start treating software as an integral element of their hardware sales and enforcing tight copyright restrictions to remain competitive. As a result, proprietary software has risen to prominence.
3) No imposed upgrades
“The first step in learning to use a computer was to pledge yourself that you would not assist your neighbour. It was forbidden to form a cooperative community. ‘If you share with your neighbour, you are a pirate,’ according to the regulation established by the proprietors of proprietary software. Ask us to make any modifications if you wish them, and we will.”
When using free software, users have the flexibility to investigate how the programme works by gaining access to its source code and writing more code for it, as well as testing, altering, and disseminating it. These actions are strictly prohibited in the case of proprietary software.
Free software, unlike proprietary software, never goes away. Whenever a proprietary manufacturer discontinues support for a product, consumers are left with two options: either use an unsupported version of the software or upgrade to an (unwanted) newer version. When it comes to free software, there is no such thing as forced upgrades. Several firms stepped forward to support RedHat Linux 7, 8, and 9, for example, after the company announced that it would no longer maintain those versions of the operating system.
4) No spying on users
It is very easy for software to spy on users’ activities if they do not have control over the software they are using. The corporation that develops proprietary software frequently includes restrictions that prevent users from sharing their work with others. Because everybody who purchases proprietary software must sign a licence agreement before using it, they are indicating their permission that the vendor has the right to check the content of their hard disc without prior notice. This is a violation of our privacy because our computers save personal information about us as well as information about our everyday activities.
The fact that closed-source software producers claim that they have made enhancements to the programme, enhanced security, and restricted backdoors means that customers are obligated to believe what they are saying. Because the source code for such assertions is not disclosed, there is no way to verify them.
6) Provides better security
It is a well-known truth that proprietary software poses a threat to the security of its users. There has been a long history of security flaws in software. The usage of proprietary software does not necessarily prevent the spread of viruses or the ability of hackers to take over people’s computers to distribute spam. Because the programme is protected by a trade secret, all users are reliant on the firm to resolve these types of issues.
7) No monopolies
When opposed to transitioning from one proprietary software to another, switching from one free software to another is both easier and less expensive. Free software does not bind you to a particular firm or organization’s products.
8) Truly user-oriented
One of the most prominent arguments made by proprietary software is that free software is not user-oriented. A proprietary vendor uses to listen to the needs of its clients and respond and evolve in response to those needs. Companies such as Red Hat and IBM, on the other hand, are developing strategies that assume that all end users have the same requirements.
9) No lock-in standards
Proprietary sellers bind proprietary standards to their products to ensure that their customers would return again and again. Free software operates following open standards.
10) Part of social movement
Free software is not solely for the benefit of the individual user. It fosters social cohesion and serves as a representative of society as a whole by encouraging sharing and collaboration. A growing number of our activities are becoming increasingly computerised, and free software is becoming an even more important element of our culture and daily lives.
Take a pledge for a better world by committing to using free software by joining our hands in solidarity. Disseminate the concept of freedom. “Software is like sex; it’s better when it’s free,” says a humorous quotation.