Oct 05, 2012

How difficult is it for you to get people to understand what open source means?

I saw an article this morning that members of upper management frequently think that open source essentially means free, unsafe, second rate software. I would have laughed about it except for the fact that I received a response to a memo I wrote about OpenStack that rejected the entire contents of the memo on the (mistaken) basis that we don't use free software that you download off the internet. How do you get people to understand that open source isn't a synonym for freeware?


This is a topic that I've had come up a number of times.  I find the best way to get some people to think of the difference is to use common examples.  Android is what I normally point to as an example of open source with which almost everyone is familiar, and most have used.  It also give you an easy example of how different device manufacturers make use of the open source Android OS.  I would use Linux, but if they know what Linux even is, they usually understand the difference.


Here's an article that discusses directly the differences between freeware and open source...


"Freeware refers to software that is, well, free of cost to use for an unlimited period of time...Freeware may be proprietary in nature, in that the source code may be closed to users, but not necessarily.


"Open source software refers to software whose code is open to users to use, change and improve the product, as well as to redistribute the modified forms."

You have to educate them. It takes time, effort and energy but it can be done. Here's an article that gives a pretty good overview. It's a good place to start.

Open-source software

"Open-source software (OSS) is computer software that is available in source code form: the source code and certain other rights normally reserved for copyright holders are provided under an open-source license that permits users to study, change, improve and at times also to distribute the software.

Open source software is very often developed in a public, collaborative manner. Open-source software is the most prominent example of open-source development and often compared to (technically defined) user-generated content or (legally defined) open content movements.[1]
A report by the Standish Group states that adoption of open-source software models has resulted in savings of about $60 billion per year to consumers.[2][3]"
Answer this