In the last few years, we’ve read articles on numerous sites and blogs about Open Source applications and useful tools to improve daily tasks (organize photos, manage project deadlines, share music, etc.). But now, there are big changes being made to the policy of “use, improve and share”.
The term Open Source was first coined in 1998 as an attempt to replace the concept of Free Software. But these concepts were not the same (since Free Software had many restrictions surrounding its source code). Free Software is often used as some kind of “demo”. You’ve probably seen those messages on the splash pages of free applications, telling you that if you want to enjoy all of the features you must upgrade the app to the Pro version (and here’s is where the appeal of “Free” Software ends).
So, the idea of Open Source was -and still is- to give users the source code so they can explore and improve it. And here is the big difference: Free Software offers features to users for free, but Open Source allows users to improve features to the software without paying for it. Free Software provides, Open Source also inspires.
From the point of view of an isolated group of revolutionary geniuses, the Open Source movement could be the final efforts against the “Wintel” monopoly. Actually, there were plans to stop the Open Source as described on the Halloween Documents in 1998, but it seems that only made the revolution stronger.
Today most of the Web 2.0 websites work with open source software (Blogger, WordPress, Joomla) and many companies use open source in some way to simplify common tasks (while writing this post I read that the French Police Department saved 50 million euros in software licenses by migrating to an Open Source OS).
If you’re not very familiar with Open Source apps just check this link with 19 Most Essential Open Source Applications That You Probably Want To Know.