What is "Open Source"?

With "Closed Source" or "Proprietary" Software, you are purchasing a "License" to use, but not "Own" a copy of the software itself. Usually this "License" allows you to only install the software on ONE computer. If you see a bug in the software or want to change how a particular part of the application works, YOU CAN'T! You can suggest thiese changes to be made by the manufacturer, but you have no guarantee that they will even listen to you at all. You don't get a copy of the "Source Code". "Open Source" is different!

The Open Source Initiative has created the Open Source Definition.

The software is released under one or more of many "Licenses", such as the "GPL", the most famous of these Open Source Licenses. This software is Copyrighted by the author(s), so it is NOT in the "Public Domain", but is released with Far more freedom for the user, than with Proprietary software.

What is the difference between "Open Source" and "Free Software"

Richard Stallman coined the term "Free Software" when he founded the "Free Software Foundation" in 1985 after leaving MIT. The term "Free Software" refers to "Freedom" to use the software, not necessarily free as in price. His theory is that ALL software should be open to use, study, copy, modify, and redistribute. This idea is rather extreme, and an unattainable goal, no matter how well intended.

The term "Open Source" was created in 1998, as a alternative to the term "Free Software", and the Open Source Initiative was begun. They understand that some "Proprietary" software will always exist, but have defined what "Open Source" should mean. This term caught on, and now most "Open" or "Free" software written outside of the Free Software Foundation, is usually referred to as "Open Source". The average person can more easily understand the concepts.

There really is less difference between the two terms, than Richard Stallman would like us to believe, since a software package released by the FSF is usually released under the GPL License, and any Open Source software package may also be released under the SAME GPL License! ;^)

Is Open Source Software less Secure than "Closed Source" Proprietary Software?

I have always found this question humorous! According to one article, there may be 60,000 "Closed Source" Windows based Viruses, as opposed to 40 for "Open Source" Linux! These numbers may, or may not be exactly accurate, but the great disparity between the numbers is! Obviously, the creators of viruses DO NOT need to see the Source Code in order to create viruses! ;^)

"Many eyes make shallow bugs" was a term coined by Linux Torvalds. Now I would NEVER state that there are no bugs or Security weaknesses in Linux, or other Open Source software, but having the code analyzed, tested, and used by so many people, does a better job of identifying bugs and weak spots in the Source.

Open Source programmers take pride in their software. Their reputations are more on the line. They are displaying it for all to see and judge. This makes them more aware of good coding practices. They would rather hold back an update to a software package than release software that doesn't work, or may contain bugs. Open Source programmers tend to respond faster to bug reports, and release patches faster than Commercial Software Manufacturers that are more concerned with profits. Many times Serious bugs in Commercial Software are NEVER reported back to end users, but are quietly "fixed" in the next update, if at all!

According to the latest percentages at Netcraft as of May 22, 2006, 64.76% of all Web Servers are running the Open Source Apache Web Server, as opposed to Microsoft's 25.46%. (The current numbers are probably higher than 64.76%) Is this just an accident, or do almost 65% of all Website Administrators believe that Apache is a more Stable and Secure Solution?

Software Prices

A certain commonly used set of "Office" applications, that when purchased, can only be installed on ONE computer, are regularly sold for the retail price of $500.00! Multiply that by 100 for all the users in your company, and you can see the problems. Now factor in the Server O/S License(s), the Workstation O/S Licenses, Client Access Licenses for each Workstation to access the Server(s), MS Exchange License(s), MS SQL License(s), Virus Protection for the server and Each Workstation, other applications and utilities, Software Maintenance Contracts, etc... and press Total!!!

There HAS to be a better way! There is!

OpenOffice.org, an Open Source alternative, that can also read and write MS Office data files, can be downloaded and installed on an Unlimited number of computers, FOR FREE!!!

The Linux Operating System, can also be downloaded, and installed on an unlimited number of computers, for Free!

A Linux File Server O/S installation, Samba, and Open Source Anti-Virus Software, can provide you with a full MS Windows compatible, Primary Domain Controller Server for your company, for only the cost of the Hardware. Add on a Linux based Print-Server, Linux based Mail Server, Linux based MySQL Server, Linux based Apache Web Server, a Linux based Router/Firewall, and you have most of the software needed for a fully operational Data Center!

Linux makes better use of your existing hardware, so in many cases, many of the Linux Based Solutions mention above can be installed and configured with NO Software or Hardware purchases at all!

The Bottom Line

We at RSI prefer to install and maintain Open Source Solutions for our Clients, where appropriate, and install and maintain Closed Source O/S's and Applications where needed.

We would welcome the opportunity to review your needs, and help you to reduce both your Software and Hardware Costs!

Standards Compliance

The computer industry, guided by the W3C, are encouraging website designers, and other computer professionals, to adhere to internationally accepted Open Standards for Web Design, (such as HTML/XHTML, & CSS), and Accessibility (WAI).

RSI agrees with NOT using proprietary "protocols", or proprietary "standards".

We support these Open Standards, and others when implementing this website, as well as our client's systems. The icons below represent the Open Standards that this website has been validated against.

Valid XHTML 1.0 Strict
CSS validator

Viewable by Any Broser Campaign Logo

Please support Open SourceTM Software

Open Source Button