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Free Software With Free Source Code

This is

by Julian Stacey

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Why pay for expensive, licence impeded, virus prone binary-only software ?
Why not use free software with open sources with free use licenses instead ?

Free Talks On Free Software

Preamble: Why read this ?

  • Do you want to pay Microsoft for the rest of your life ? (Both software version upgrades, & each time you buy new PC hardware - did you know PCs without MS bundled in the cost are cheaper ?! ) So why pay MS ?
  • Are you bootlegging & scared they'll get you ? Or not using lots of software that runs on MS cos it too requires expensive licences ?
  • Viruses & malware are usually targeted at Microsoft.
  • Do you fancy software that's usually fixed in days, discussed by an international community, awake 24/7 round the clock ?
  • We dont want your money. Our software is free, we don't care if you use it or not. All we ask is if you fix or enhance something, you give the improvment back to the community.
  • Linux & BSD are not Microsoft, but free, & have tens of thousans of free packages, & imagine an engine block made of hard crystal: with free source code, no place for viruses to hide :-) & it's totally free, & never need pay Microsoft again.
  • To start to migrate free of MS, start using eg Firefox instead of MS-Explorer, & try OpenOffice or LibreOffice, then download a free Linux (or BSD) CD/DVD or get a Linux magazine.
  • @2018-11 There's a DVD inc. LibreOffice, Firefox, Virtualbox & nearly 100 Open Source Software, for MSWin 10, 8 & 7 issued by Trinidad and Tobago Computer Society, as offered 2016-09 on Software Freedom Day Mail List
  • A few of my other FAQs will cover this too:
  • PS there's Linux & BSD user clubs in Munich/Muenchen. That page leads to other global indexes


Free can mean not just free of charge but eg:
  • Free from security loopholes (commercial software by contrast is usually marketed as "Easy to use" which usually means "security etc compromised to make initial use easier to promote sales".
  • Free of virus susceptibility - Hard to hide Viruses when the source is freely & widely available for inspection.
  • Free of restrictions, - As it comes with source code too, so can be fixed & improved enhanced & upgraded free of entrapment into biennial upgrade/ new release fees.
  • Free of waiting - Bug reports can be emailed to International lists, fixes can be developed while you sleep, developers spread round the globe, so whatever time zone, some usually awake. No waiting till a manufacturer's next release next year.

Why Switch To Free Legal Software ?

  • Microsoft addicts throw money away forever (both their own money & their employers). Consider MS- DOS 1-5, Windows 95, 98, 2000, XP, Vista, Windows 7 & the other non MS licenced dependent software too:
  • How many times do they upgrade & re-license applications because a Microsoft using colleague sent a newer Mickey format the old program couldn't work with ? (& after upgrade sooner or later they pass the relicense infection on to the next person ;-) Then their operating system need upgrading, then the hardware, (because the ever more bloated & inefficient PS needs more powerful hardware), then some drivers need upgrading, then the applications again. How many times are Microsoft addicts forced to relicense ? Answer: Forever ! Until they die ! When will people realise buying commercial software is more like renting it ? Rather like like buying a new car where the wheels will regularly fall off every 2 or 3 years !
  • Will you too continue buying licences (or boot legging software) till you die ? Or till your employer loses competitive edge against other companies Not paying or boot-legging Microsoft & other commercial package vendors ? Why ignore free legal software ? Why give your competitors the free financial advantage ?
  • If you think buying software makes you safe, because you have a vendor legally liable to support you, excuse us while we laugh. ! That's wishful thinking, not reality !
  • This author ( experience a systems engineer, & computer consultant has many a time had a problem, documented it in an internet list posting, left to sleep, & come back next morning to a solution - Free. & for the international self support user groups , that's available 24/7 including weekends & holidays, Better than commercial support !
  • How much time have you wasted while your laptop if it hasn't been on line for a week, consumes time, perhaps at high mobile rates, while asking you & loading down ever more patches or virus detectors ?
  • Did you realise better operating systems with competent users do not Need virus detectors ?!
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What Benefit Are Free Sources ?

  • Reliability - Easy To Fix & Extend
    • Your own tech support staff can patch things if urgent.
    • Companies can employ from a free market of competitive consultants to fix or customise what you need Now, (If you've saved lots of money not regularly re-purchasing bulk licences, you can afford occasional local consultants)
    • You can get help from free self help groups, fast, no waiting for new releases or official responses
    • Binaries without sources encourage a paradigm of lots of small suppliers, not co-operating, not checking, higher risk of problems if humans fall ill, stop, or small companies fail, or are bought, or discard obsolete business.
    • Free Source corrects that, projects can supply base of free code for import, & a recruitment pool of spare experienced staff if local existing staff drop out, & there's competition & improvement & cross fertilisation to produce best code.
    • You can fix urgent bugs Now, not wait for a new release of the software from a monopoly software vendor in months or a year, & hope a fix Might be included then.
    • If you're scared that competitors may use the GNU/FSF Linux licence to force your company to disclose proprietary improvements, you can safely base your project instead on BSD.
    • Remember the Russian saying, in German: "Vertrauen ist Gut, Kontrol ist Besser ! = Trust is good, Inspection/checking is better !" Maybe you personally can't understand the source, but you can find someone who can if needs be, & others probably already have read it & checked it, or will. (Big projects like FreeBSD.Org have even organised methodical read through of their entire code base before now !)
    • Maybe You'r American, Chinese, Russian, British, German, French, Indian, Pakistani, Iranian, Israeli, Syrian N/S Korean etc ? ... & you & your government don't trust some of those others ?
      So you have 2 alternatives: you can blind faith trust all software produced by your fellow nationals, & allies licensed by your government & allies - Dumb, or what ?! smiley face icon )
      Or you take the alternative: use Public Domain Sources that a load of people around the globe all look at, who can't find security holes in the code, & who will race to fix it if they do find holes).
    • Free binaries with no sources are scarey: The question of provenance & trust. Corporate IT staff can't trust what they can't inspect (so why they trust Micro$oft after the Word previous edits leakage is anyone's guess ;-)
    • Imagine an engine block made out of tough crystal - where you can See your problem, & assess just how bad it is, & & how to work round it or fix it, what it might take to fix it.
    • You & others can look for potential trouble ahead of time & be confident there's no faults deliberately hidden by the manufacturer !
    • No dark places for criminals (or enemy governments etc) to hide viruses.
    • No dark places for rogue departments of alien governments to get their software manufacturers to hide security holes/ back doors, (hiding things in plain sight is a lot harder).
      At 2013-09 in Europe, distrust of & objection to alien USA NSA spying on Europeans is pronounced. At 2 symposia (Tor Project & CODE) all were aware of USA NSA spying & how with USA controlling { major software designers & service providers with products like MS-Windows & Apple & Google for OS & some apps & browsers etc) for smart phones, & USA companies like facebook & twitter running social databases, & google & other USA owned search engines, & Sybase mobile software etc } USA has a wide target of companies to lean on to install back doors. & we don't have the sources to check what traffic might flow where.
    • Security By Obscurity is an obsolete discredited concept, made scarier when one realises some early proponents like eg DEC (Digital Equipment Corporation) (once a favourite manufacturer for systems engineers) disappeared (with their binary VMS). One can't rely on commercial companies staying around. One can rely on public software written to public standards always being around, at least in the archive, if one needs it.
    • Security by [seriously expensive] certification from national governments is a myopic view, presumably most favoured by ignorant politicians who allocate funds for it, civil servants who preside over the funds & build heir empires, & their big industry software sales pals,
      but national certification of binary products is Deeply Flawed: The mass market that will most easily afford fat fees to government for software product certification, will be for apps based on MS etc, precisely the OS base one Least wants to trust. Small companies won't easily afford to certify, nor universities can't, & certainly not free software authors & groups. Frequent updates to keep current would also need frequent new certificate fees, so the software would not remain so relevant to current threats.
      Government bodies (such as German BSI etc) would be well advised to do Free code reviews of public security software such as GPG encryption & OpenSSH ) etc to promote more real security at minimum expense.
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What Drawbacks ? What's the catch ? Must be something bad ?

Draft: Occasionaly foolish code changes aka code butchering gets forced, eg in Forcing may be done by intelligent but arrogant programmers, without tempering by management. There's no manager there to bang heads. The phenomena is presumed intrinsic to other free projects too.
FreeBSD claim to have managers, as presumably other projects do, but it's easy to claim to be a manager, much harder to actually enforce management, particularly in the unpaid sector; where some claim it's like herding cats.
In paid work, the young can be cheap & work hard & know the latest, but every deptartment can benefit from 1 or 2 with more experience, they generaly include managers, managers are not necessarily available or in power on free projects.

  BSD Unix ?, Linux ?, or Other ?

We in the Free World, generally think anything's nicer than Micro$oft. Some Unix people with long experience think: Yes Linux is nice, but BSD Unix is even nicer ! But both are good smiley face icon. Linux & BSD are just two types of Unix. (There's many other types too, eg eg Mach, HP-UX, Solaris, Ultrix, Sinix, Xenix, SCO etc though they're mostly not free).
Linux & BSD both come in various sub types beyond. (which usually makes job advertisements that say "Must have Linux Experience" show the advertiser is ignorant. Yes, this author is a Unix Consultant & tends to regard Linux as just another variant of Unix smiley face icon

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BSD Unix [BSD logo]

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Linux [Linux Logo]

  • Linux Debian supported 10 processor types @ 2006.10 (as releases, + 5 in progress) (second only to NetBSD (& OpenBSD)). The reference Linux for developers
  • Ubuntu
  • knoppix Linux CDROM bootable without hard disc.
    (BSD has similar, I also mastered a FreeBSD on cdrom with no need of hard disk myself, long before most people had heard of the idea, way before FreeBSD.Org did one, but knoppix deserves respect for being first widely known of the type) smiley face icon
  • There's loads of other Linuxes, but many are commercial distributions. Copying lots of their cdroms commercially is not legal, unlike BSD.
  • If you want to browse Linux you could try here:
To Index

  Android Android robot.svg



  • 2018-03-09: "The Trinidad and Tobago Computer Society is pleased to announce TTCS OSSWIN online at , an online resource of Free and Open Source Software for Microsoft Windows 10/8/7. The web-based interface allows you to quickly browse the variety of software organised into the following categories:"
  • 2018-03-09: "Free Software Directory --- co-run by UNESCO in the early 2000s, but now carried by FSF ... all software that we know to run on Windows"


Index at top

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  Escape Microsoft ! - Here's How

A 59 meg film from FSF, in WebM format (so time you abandoned Flash format!):

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