Like free stuff? Well I am sure you would enjoy not paying for the software that is on your computer, that would make buying a computer easier and cheaper. In turn your computer would be more secure, less likely to crash, get a virus, or have a problem. Because there would be thousands of programmers working on one thing. Making that piece of software the best it can be. Already major companies are quickly supporting the Open Source Software movement like Netscape, IBM, Transmeta, HP, Sun, Dell and many more. What made all these companies support the Open Source Software movement? Open source is defined in the Open source Directive which will be discussed in the business solutions/law section. My thesis is that open source software is better than proprietary software, and I will attempt to prove that now. Subjects that I will be covering will be privacy/security, business solutions/law, general benefits.
The starting of the Open source software revolution could be traced back to a man named Richard Stallman. Richard Stallman worked for the Artificial Intelligence Lab of Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1971, he worked on programming the a timesharing program. When the University bought a new server in 1982, the administration of the university decided to use Digital's proprietary piece of software instead of ITS which was developed by the university hackers. That got Richard Stallman upset, but when a person at the lab did not release the source code (see glossary) that really got him angry. So he quit in 1984 and worked on GNU (GNU is Not UNIX). He wrote the GNU Manifesto which is availiable here: http://www.gnu.org/gnu/manifesto.html, this is what he still goes by
Privacy is important to most people, I know I value privacy that is why I close my blinds when I change clothes and why I shower with the door closed, and why we have privacy windows. Would you like it if your window blinds where left open all day long? Would you like it if I could find out what phone numbers you call on your cell phone? What if your personal information was being transmitted over the internet, with the risk of attackers intercepting that information on its way to a company, all this without you being told that it was happening information such as what websites you go to and what movies/songs you have watched/listened too? Would you like it if a company had this information and had the chance of selling it to other companies for lots of money? Then the question comes up. Privacy, how much is it worth? What if you could get that secure feeling for free? With open source software you can see what the maker of the software is trying to do. Even if you don't understand the code there will be someone out there that does and he or she will report that to other people and word will be out that that person is trying to do something wrong.
With Windows XP's new Windows Media Player, which is built in and cannot be removed, sends what DVD movie titles are being played to Microsoft.( Not only that but it keeps a log of what movies have been played, on the hard drive which cannot be removed. This was intentional, its not like it could happen by accident. There is no way of getting rid of this "feature" instead users are forced to deal with it. This and possibly more lurk inside Windows, and it is not only Windows it is many other proprietary products. The only people that know are the developers. There is a solution to this, make the software open source. We don't even know if Microsoft's Internet Explorer is sending information about which websites you visit, or whether it is making advertisements pop-up.
Many big name websites rely on open source software to be secure. The reason is that they use an open source OS some of these websites are www.google.com, redhat.com, amazon.com, yahoo.com, qwest.net, geocities.com and many more (“What's that site running results”). Sites like hotmail.com, microsoft.com ("Microsoft.com Running on Linux"), and msn.com ("Open-source Apache encroaches on Microsoft") say that they run Windows and IIS but other results(noted beside each site.) prove differently. The company's Hotmail free e-mail service for years used the FreeBSD operating system and the Apache Web server, both leading open source programs. Microsoft believes in "security through obscurity" (http://www.makeitsimple.com/article.php?sid=149) even though security expert Bruce Perens
I will be comparing the vulnerabilities through the year of 2000. The opponents will be Windows NT/2000 (because they are the same thing) and Debian/GNU Linux 2.2. Windows NT/2000 had over ninty-seven vulnerabilities ("SecurityFocus Vulns Stats") not including the 73,553+ virus' that Sophos has so far identified ("73,553 and counting..."). Compared to Debian/GNU Linux with only fifty-five vulnerabilities. This comparison is still unfair because they included vulnerabilities of packages that were optional, (pieces of software that is not required for the operating system to function things like X11, Samba, GNOME, Emacs, Libraries), games and other tools, and did not include the vulnerabilities of software that is not optional in Windows like Internet Explorer, Windows media player, Outlook Express.
Making money is not easy when you product is free, but yet companies still flourish by doing this. Making money is the essence of business if a company is not making money it is not invested in and people don't make money. I will show how these companies like Red Hat, VA Software, IBM, Netscape, and many more. You can have a product that is open source and still make money. My thesis is that businesses can make their software open source and still profit from it.
Red Hat Linux is the leading Linux Distribution, they offer their distribution for free and for a price, here is how. The GPL which will be discussed further in this section states that you can sell the product as long as you still offer the product for free some how some way. You can buy their product and you will get all the documentation in printed form, free support if you need it for thirty days, and the CDROM's for the install and Sun Star Office 5.2 ("Red Hat Linux 7.3 Personal"). This way they still make money off of those who do not have a CD-RW drive or have dial-up and it will take too long for them to download or maybe people just want the support and documentation. Red Hat makes money by selling the packages and by selling support. They will give you tech support if your server goes down. In 1989 Berkeley Computer Systems Research Group came out with Networking release 1 it was the TCP/IP protocols together for UNIX machines. They decided to sell it, the license they came up with was very unique, if you paid the $1,000 for the source you could do whatever you wanted with it (book). Kirk McKusick shares how he felt when they did this “We thought that two groups would pay the money and then put the code on the Internet, but in fact, hundreds of sites actually paid the $1,000 for it, mostly so they could get a piece of paper from the university saying you can do whatever you want with this.(free for all)”. Or a company can just give out the source like Netscape did in 1998 and release the source for their web browser ("Press Release"). The company is still growing and is still an open source company.
There are many ways that open source software benefits people. One way is that programmers can better develop software. Because the developers can look at the source and take bits and pieces of the source to develop their own programs. This would produce better software which brings up another benefit of open source software open source software produces better programs. Programs have the chance to be seen by experts in programming which will evolve the software to be better that is why they established the website opensource.org (www.opensource.org). John Ousterhout creator of Tcl a programming toolkit says that open source produces better software (http://technetcast.ddj.com/tnc_play_stream.html?stream_id=35).Software lasts longer. If two programs were to be released now, one open source, the other closed/proprietary, and not be modified for ten years the open source would still be used and the closed/proprietary will have been long forgotten ("Advantages of open source software"). Open source software is used more widely than closed source, Debian has reported 8710 packages of open source software (Debian.org).
"Advantages of open source software" Free Software / Open Source: Information Society Opportunities for Europe?
"SecurityFocus Vulns Stats" August 2001, Security Focus.
"73,553 and counting..." May 6, 2002 The Information & Technology Publishing Co. Ltd
"Serious privacy problems in Windows Media Player for Windows XP" February 20, 2002
"Red Hat Linux 7.3 Personal"
"Microsoft.com Running on Linux" January 26, 2001 Specialized Systems Consultants, Inc.
"Open-source Apache encroaches on Microsoft" July 15, 1999 CNET Networks, Inc.
"What's that site running results"
Wayner, Peter. "Free for All"
"Why Security-Through-Obscurity Won't Work"Feature:Security Through Obscurity
Source code - When a program is written it is made in a programming language, this programming language can only be read by humans. So it must go through a complier which translates it to the machines language, (the complier is a translator and optimizer) the source code is highly valued by programmers because it tells them how the program was made. Think of it as blue prints for a house.
Libraries – In programming you need to tell the machine what to do, you do this using libraries. When the machine does not know what to do it will look to on of those libraries to find out.
Operating System – The operating system is the middleman between you and your computer if you have no operating system you cannot use your computer, it is “lifeless”. It makes life easier by letting you learn how to use the operating system instead of inputting 1’s and 0’s (binary AKA machine language) Examples of operating systems Windows, Mac OS, DOS, Linux, UNIX