Introduction to Free and Open Source Software (FOSS)


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An attempt to orient the unconverted and the semi-converted on the history and benefits of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS). Created for the PANACeA FOSS training in Bangkok (Feb 2010).

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Introduction to Free and Open Source Software (FOSS)

  1. 1. 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.
  2. 2. Outline <ul><li>Learning Objectives
  3. 3. FOSS Defined
  4. 4. Brief Background of FOSS
  5. 5. Linux Distributions Timeline
  6. 6. Some Benefits of FOSS
  7. 7. Some Equivalents to Proprietary Softwares/Applications
  8. 8. When Does One Use FOSS?
  9. 9. Conclusion </li></ul>
  10. 10. Objectives <ul><li>For participants to: </li><ul><li>Explain what FOSS means.
  11. 11. Understand a brief history of FOSS.
  12. 12. Appreciate some of the benefits of FOSS.
  13. 13. Know FOSS equivalents to proprietary softwares/applications </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. FOSS defined
  15. 15. Brief Background of FOSS
  16. 16. Brief Background of FOSS (2) <ul><li>1960s to 70s – Software sharing culture in US labs (Stanford, Berkeley, Carnegie Mellon, MIT)
  17. 17. 1976 – Bill Gates' “Open Letter to Hobbyists” advocating that software should be paid for, including royalties
  18. 18. Early 80s – LISP programming language was taken by MIT, to the dismay of hackers.
  19. 19. January 1984 – Richard Stallman quit job at MIT. Started to worked on GNU, a set of programming tools. </li></ul>
  20. 20. Brief Background of FOSS (3) <ul><li>1986 – Free Software Foundation was born. To promote 'free software' and the GNU project.
  21. 21. 1990 – Bringing 'free software' to the corporate world with Cygnus.
  22. 22. 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>
  23. 23. Brief Background of FOSS (4) <ul><li>1992 – Xfree86 was born, the start of bringing GNU/Linux to the desktop level.
  24. 24. 1993 – Debian and Slackware as implementations of GNU/Linux were born.
  25. 25. 1994 – Apache, the now popular web server system, was born.
  26. 26. 1995 – Red Hat was born.
  27. 27. 1995 – Codebase of Unix incorporated into systems such as FreeBSD, NetBSD, and OpenBSD. </li></ul>
  28. 28. Brief Background of FOSS (5) <ul><li>1996 – KDE as desktop environment was born.
  29. 29. 1997 – GNU/Linux grabbed the 25% share of the server market and grew at 25% per year.
  30. 30. 1997 – GNOME desktop manager was born.
  31. 31. 1998 – Netscape released Netscape Navigator code base under open source. This paved the way for development of Mozilla Firefox. </li></ul>
  32. 32. Brief Background of FOSS (6) <ul><li>1998 – The term 'open source' was coined. Led to the formation of Open Source Initiative and formulation of open source definition.
  33. 33. 1999 – Red Hat was transformed into a corporation. Other corporations were established around “selling” Linux: not charging for the software but for the support services. </li></ul>
  34. 34. Linux Distro Timeline
  35. 35. Linux Distro Timeline
  36. 36. 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.
  37. 37. There are Linux distributions that can run in low-end machines. </li></ul><li>Stability and Security </li><ul><li>Data integrity – No viruses
  38. 38. Basic security mechanisms are built-in out of the box (compared to Windows' earlier versions) </li></ul></ul>
  39. 39. 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)
  40. 40. Promotion of transparency </li></ul><li>Adaptability – Can be modified to suit a particularly locality
  41. 41. Cooperation/collaboration for quality software - “With enough eyeballs, bugs are shallow” </li></ul>
  42. 42. 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>
  43. 43. 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
  44. 44. When Does One Use FOSS? <ul><li>Using Linux or BSD through a distribution (e.g., Ubuntu, Fedora, Debian, FreeBSD)
  45. 45. Using FOSS applications in a proprietary operating system. For example, using OpenOffice for Windows or Mac; using Thunderbird instead of Microsoft Outlook
  46. 46. Using a Linux distribution as guest operating system in Windows or Mac (through a virtual manager).
  47. 47. Using cross-platform applications. For example, Apache for web service, mysql for database, PHP for web programming. </li></ul>
  48. 48. 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
  49. 49. 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!
  50. 50. Thank you!
  51. 51. Notes and References <ul><li>This presentation was made using Impress.
  52. 52. This presentation is an improvement of previous ones I wrote and used in other events.
  53. 53. Linux distro timeline:
  54. 54. Bill Gates' open letter to hobbyists: </li></ul>
  55. 55. Notes and References (2) <ul><li>
  56. 56. Linux TCO:
  57. 57. Earlier electronic presentations: </li><ul><li>Intro to FOSS PCTA and Training (Ariel Betan)
  58. 58. Connecting and Empowering Communities with FOSS (Dr. Francis Sarmiento, IOSN) </li></ul></ul>
  59. 59. Notes and References (3) <ul><li>Latest statistics on distributions: </li></ul>