Introduction to Free and Open Source Software (FOSS)
Introduction to Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) By Dong B. Calmada PANACeA FOSS Training 3 February 2010 Bangkok, Thailand Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
Brief Background of FOSS (2) <ul><li>1960s to 70s – Software sharing culture in US labs (Stanford, Berkeley, Carnegie Mellon, MIT)
1976 – Bill Gates' “Open Letter to Hobbyists” advocating that software should be paid for, including royalties
Early 80s – LISP programming language was taken by MIT, to the dismay of hackers.
January 1984 – Richard Stallman quit job at MIT. Started to worked on GNU, a set of programming tools. </li></ul>
Brief Background of FOSS (3) <ul><li>1986 – Free Software Foundation was born. To promote 'free software' and the GNU project.
1990 – Bringing 'free software' to the corporate world with Cygnus.
1991 – Linus Torvalds distributed a Unix-like kernel and encouraged everyone to help improve it. The kernel was later named “Linux” and then integrated with GNU into an operating system called “GNU/Linux”. </li></ul>
Brief Background of FOSS (4) <ul><li>1992 – Xfree86 was born, the start of bringing GNU/Linux to the desktop level.
1993 – Debian and Slackware as implementations of GNU/Linux were born.
1994 – Apache, the now popular web server system, was born.
Benefits of FOSS <ul><li>Economy and affordability – No license and maintenance fees for softwares </li><ul><li>Lower total cost of ownership (TCO). 2002 Study: Cost of running Linux is 40% that of Microsoft Windows.
There are Linux distributions that can run in low-end machines. </li></ul><li>Stability and Security </li><ul><li>Data integrity – No viruses
Basic security mechanisms are built-in out of the box (compared to Windows' earlier versions) </li></ul></ul>
Benefits of FOSS (2) <ul><li>Open standards </li><ul><li>Use of internationally recognized standards that allow portability or interoperability (e.g., Open Document Format)
Promotion of transparency </li></ul><li>Adaptability – Can be modified to suit a particularly locality
Cooperation/collaboration for quality software - “With enough eyeballs, bugs are shallow” </li></ul>
Benefits of FOSS (3) <ul><li>User freedoms – Freedom to use, study, modify and distribute a particular software (through the GPL and open source licenses) </li></ul>
Some FOSS Equivalents to Proprietary Softwares Category Proprietary FOSS Office Microsoft Office, iWork OpenOffice, KOffice, Abiword, Gnumeric, Lotus Symphony Desktop Publishing Adobe PageMaker Scribus Image Manipulation/Graphics Production Adobe Photoshop GIMP, Inkscape Email Microsoft Outlook, Outlook Express Thunderbird Web Browser Internet Explorer Firefox Voice Over IP Skype Ekiga Database Microsoft Access, SQL Server OpenOffice Base, PostgreSQL, MySQL Media Player Microsoft Media Player, Power DVD Totem, VLC, Mplayer Chat Yahoo Messenger Pidgin, Empathy Video Editing Adobe Premier, Final Cut Cinelerra, Kino
When Does One Use FOSS? <ul><li>Using Linux or BSD through a distribution (e.g., Ubuntu, Fedora, Debian, FreeBSD)
Using FOSS applications in a proprietary operating system. For example, using OpenOffice for Windows or Mac; using Thunderbird instead of Microsoft Outlook
Using a Linux distribution as guest operating system in Windows or Mac (through a virtual manager).
Using cross-platform applications. For example, Apache for web service, mysql for database, PHP for web programming. </li></ul>
When Does One Use FOSS? (2) Three B's Operating system Desktop Applications Strengths Limitations “ B ut My World” Windows FOSS Applications - Familiarity with Windows - Not insulated from inherent weaknesses of Windows “ B est of Both Worlds” - Dual Boot - Virtual Machine: One OS is treated as guest FOSS Applications - Familiarity with Windows while learning Linux Desktop - Better if the main OS is Linux - Requires high-end machine - Complex setup, requiring networking skills “ B rave New World” Linux FOSS Applications - Total independence from Windows - “Politically-correct” technology use - Steep learning curve about Linux
Conclusion Using FOSS is cool! It is politically correct (user freedoms) and strategic (mainly business-wise) while working around the policy limits in particular localities/countries. But FOSS is not perfect! Learning curve is steep and requires user-level support on tap. Holding hands together for FOSS! Hand holding to make FOSS flourish!