Sunday, October 14, 2012

I like free stuff!

Imagine your favorite ice cream shoppe gives away all of their ice cream for free!
They even include the ice cream recipes and their favorite sundae recipes.

But wait, there’s more!
Anyone can add in their favorite sundae recipes or make their own ice cream.

Sound awesome? Yes.

Well guess what, the free  ice cream sundae of software is open source software (tasty analogy, eh?).

What is open source software (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open-source_software)?
Software that is completely free (yea!), including the source code. Anyone can use it and modify it.

You may have even used open source software yourself.

Notably, Android phones run open source software (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Android_(operating_system), http://www.android.com/).

Here are some other common open source software products: http://www.tripwiremagazine.com/2010/03/20-most-popular-open-source-software-ever-2.html

Things I’ve personally used and recommend:
-Calibre (e-books)
-Firefox (web browser)
-Audacity (audio manipulation)
- GIMP (Image manipulation)
-Open Office (analogous to Microsoft Office)
-VLC Media Player (analogous to Windows Media Player)

The aforementioned software are the ice cream toppings of an open source sundae.

You can also have an operating system (OS, http://computer.howstuffworks.com/operating-system.htm) that is open source. The OS is the ice cream base of the open source sundae.

The two most common OS’s are Windows and Apple. Most people will go their whole lives using one of these two without ever realizing other options exist. My personal favorite is Ubuntu (http://www.ubuntu.com/).

Should you use an Open Source OS? Here’s a handy flow chart.

Pros and Cons of open source software

1.      Free!
2.      Strong community of online users.
3.    Innovative software is released immediately instead of lingering in testing for months.
4.  Nerds will think you're cool.

1.      No user hotline to call if something goes wrong.
2.      Not always the easiest to set-up.
3.     Can be difficult to fix if there’s a bug.

The delicious world of open source sundaes awaits! Go out there and test some products out. 

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