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The 21st Century is a Time of Technology. People Have

The 21st Century is a Time of Technology. People Have

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Published by: dauren_reading on Nov 24, 2009
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12/07/2009

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The 21
st
century is a time of technology. People have easy access to Internet and to electronicresources. Most of the software products are being distributed through the web. Majority of them require payment. It is possible to point out two software types according to its licensingtypes: free and open source software or proprietary software. Free software called so not because of its price being nothing. True reason for it that software is free as in terms of liberty or freedom matters. In other words users of this kind of software are free to change itin their own needs. It might be true that for the moment the most number of individualconsumers are using proprietary software. The reason for that is free software comparablynewer than proprietary one for the standard users, because free and open source softwareinitially were created for better functionality, which was needed by organizations.Considering distribution of software leads to the fact that owners of proprietary softwarespend more resources on advertisement of their products. Development of new applicationsmight cost more as well. In addition creators of proprietary software give guaranty for their software. Due to all of these reasons majority of individual consumers possibly choose proprietary software. The first part of this essay will discuss licensing terms for free and opensource software, and give deeper explanation of the term “free software”. Furthermore essaywill discuss main advantages of free and open source software over the proprietary software.The last part of the main body of the current essay will point out disadvantages of using freesoftware and show benefits of using the proprietary licensed applications.The first part of the essay is about licensing for software. Developers of the software mightface problems with its licensing. There are not much doubts when person distributing proprietary software. The reason for that is proprietary software has its source codeunavailable. However if organization is distributing free software, which is for profit and itssource code available to download, some difficulties might appear. As it is written in theofficial gnu website free software means that users are free to run, copy, distribute, study,change and improve the software. There are four main freedoms in free software world:
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Users are free to run the program for any purpose
Program is free to be studied and changed by anyone who has it
Users are free to redistribute the program
Program is free to be improved and re-releasedMost of the software licenses do not allow the user to distribute or change it. GNU GeneralPublic License for Open Source and free software makes it clear that anyone who has freesoftware is able to make any changes to it.In order to make changes to software product, users should have an access to its source code.Having access allow its users to change and modify it in the way users want. In other wordsfree software can be personalized to meet needs of every consumer. It is easy tocommercialize free software. The reason is users do not pay for copies of purchased softwareas they generally do while buying proprietary one. Bigger amount of users pay more price for several proprietary licenses, where as one license for free software can serve even for bigorganization. In other words single license will relate for every consumer using differentcopies of one software. License for one type of software can not limit the use for other applications.The second part of this essay will discuss the advantages of free software. The first advantageis that free software is not dependant on its initial distributor. For those individual consumerswho wants to create their business basing on the free software, that means less resistance toenter the market. It also makes advantage for market, because big number of people willexpand the market, number of consumers and distributors. High competition level mightincrease the quality of software and decrease its cost.The second advantage is that free software is compatible with other software types, in other words it is interoperable. For example, individuals are able to use most of the Linuxapplications on Windows. There are many Windows analogues in Linux operation system
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like Adobe Acrobat Reader, Adobe Photoshop, Dreamweaver, Flash, Microsoft Office and Notepad.The next advantage is possibly the most important and the biggest for free and open sourcesoftware. There is a big cost difference for open software and proprietary one. When user  purchases new free software, he pays much less for it, rather than he would have paid for theclosed analogue. After the actual purchase, if the user wants to update or maintain his newfree software, he pays less as well. Consumer spends less amount of money on the license for open source software. Free software does not always ask to update compatible hardware.There are new hardware types which are being released almost every day, by the time the factthat hardware for open source software does not need to be upgraded saves even more funds.As it was written before free software has its source code available for anyone. That allowsusers to personalize applications for their own interest. It will make software easier to use,less complicated to access, edit the design and interface. Furthermore user is even able tochange functionality and processes. Due to all of those facts, personalization is one moreadvantage of free software. The next advantage is that the user has more options to choosefrom when he purchases free software, because every single type of it was changed for manydifferent purposes, and consumer can easily find the one which suits him.Accessibility to source code might increase security of the system. Nowadays there are manyspywares and viruses in the web. They might slow down the system, secretly observe users’actions, and damage the system by deleting files. Spywares are gathering personalinformation, which is against the Data Protection Act. Every line of source code of freesoftware being tested individually by millions of people around the world, they are able toidentify threads and bugs, which lead to better system security. All the incidents and faults of free software and open source software are held in one list. It is easier to monitor, find andsolve the problems if these problems are in one incident list. Individual users will benefitfrom the single incident handling system for free software.
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