Yesterday when I was online on gmail , my junior Shweta asked me that what is FOSS , I replied her but thought that this is the area where persons are still having many misunderstandings , so I decided to write on this topic . This is in no way an exhaustive post, neither am I an Open Source Expert. I am only sharing with you my knowledge and experience of FOSS.
So here we go –
1.What does Free and Open Source Software mean?
The concept of free and open source software refers to the right of the end user to modify a FOSS software however they want without any restriction provided the output will also be made available freely to other users.There are hundreds of softwares that are are available free of any restriction for you to use.
2.What does free mean ?
There are thousands of FOSS software that are available both free as in free beer and free speech. From full fledged operating systems, office suites, graphics softwares , just name it. All you have to do is download them and use them. No licensing fees, no product keys, nothing. Just download and use. Simple as that.
3.Why should we use FOSS?
Simple. Aside from it being free, you can be assured of very quality and up to date products. This because almost anyone can contribute to the development of FOSS and thus people from all over the world help to develop any given software which enriches the diversity and flavor that go into it. Also, because open source softwares have their source code in the public eye, it makes it nigh impossible to add any malicious line of code without it being detected and eliminated quickly. This makes open source softwares more secure than their closed counterparts.
4.Do we need a particular OS in order to use FOSS?
No. There are FOSS softwares for almost all OS platforms around today. There are softwares for Windows, Mac OS and Linux. Just search for the softaware relating to your OS.
5.So what makes FOSS unique from other softwares?
In my opinion, what makes FOSS unique is the massive, dedicated community that you can choose to become part of when you use FOSS. An OS like Ubuntu has a very loving, dedicated and superb community that is just willing to help you with every single problem you may encounter with the OS and there hundreds like the Ubuntu Forums that to me, make FOSS such a joy to use.
6.If you want to try some out then begin from here.
I will just make a small list of some great FOSS that you can try out for yourself. You will be happy you did.
Web browser try Firefox if you are not already using it.
Image editor try Gimp. Also a free alternative to Photoshop.
Multi media player, try VLC.
I also suggest you try Ubuntu, a free, powerful and fully customizable OS.
You can also visit OSALT for all the free softwares you can think of.