Image by Gregor Richards
FLOSS means “Free and Libre Open Source Software”.
- A short history
- What does FLOSS mean?
- Why is FLOSS good for you?
- It is Free
- It is Libre and Open Source
- FLOSS means business
- FLOSS is good for scientists
A short history
FLOSS in itself is nothing new. Indeed, it is a rehash of the original way software was developed. Initially, users would get both executables and sources and be free to modify, tailor and share the software. As it was commoditized, vendors realized the luxury of keeping it closed, and not even selling it, but “licensing” you to use it under their conditions -and with no responsability or guarantee of any kind. A businessman heaven: reap the benefits, stifle innovation and preclude competition without any responsability at all..
Of course many people reacted trying to keep alive the old spirit of knowedge sharing that had enabled the initial computer revolution. The term used to distinguish this approach is FLOSS (Free and Libre Open Source Software).
What does FLOSS mean?
Yes, we have already spelled it out fully for you. But what does it actually mean?
FLOSS is a bet for freedom and sharing as a way to increase the common wealth, in contrast to the standard trend towards greed and lock-in to increase an economic elite’s richness.
What it basically means is that you can get both the executable programs and their source code, their blueprints and building instructions for free. You can use it, learn from it and enhace it.
And since you can learn and enhance it, you can also sell your new knowledge and developments without ties to greedy corporate interests. You can grow on your own and play alongside the big players on an even field based on quality of services. Thanks to the Internet that now means a global market as well as your near locality. You no longer need to make huge investments to get started: you are free to start from anywhere others are now -or have left- and add your own services to reap the benefits.
Why is FLOSS good for you?
FLOSS is free, meaning that you can save a significant amount of money on implementation expenses and maintenance licenses. Of course you need to learn how it works, just like you need to learn any other software package, be it commercial or not, but there is a wealth of information and training to choose from, often much more than you can find for any comparable commercial software, and cheaper!
Since it is Libre you can do your own maintenance and updates, and tailor it to your needs, something you cannot with proprietary, closed software. You are no longer tied to a vendor to deliver the updates it wants whenever it likes (not the ones you need when you require them). And if you do not want to do it yourself there is a wealth of developers who can help you for a modest fee and often, if the requirement is sexy, for free!
The other side is that FLOSS fosters a rich ecosystem where everybody can survive and strife. Small companies compete on equivalent ground with larger behemoths, it’s only the quality of your service that matters, not your money weight. It makes it easier for you to set up your shop and earn a life without selling your soul to economic giantes that will suck your life for the benefit of corporate masters.
You can learn more in the following pages.