Open Source Software
On the osCommerce thread there`s been a lot of discussion about open source which I think needs to be addressed.The free in open source is about free speech, not the price of the product. It`s about protecting your right to use software the way you want. This is achieved by using a license to make sure you have the right to use to the software in *any* way you want and that no one can take that away from you. The software not costing anything is a side effect (technically you can charge for it).A phrase often used to describe this is "free as in free speech, not free as in free beer". The difference is often lost but really important.Free Speech: I sell you a bottle of water for $5 and let you use it any way you want.Free Beer: I give you a bottle of water at no cost but tell you that you can only drink it between 9.00 and 9.05 on the second blue moon of a year. What if you want to drink it at another time or use it for a different purpose?Personally I`m a huge fan of open source. If a proprietary application does 95% of what I need I`m at the mercy of the manufacturer to add the remaining 5%. Of course they`re not going to do that unless it`s commercially viable. With open source I can add the 5% myself (or pay someone to do it).
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