Here’s an obvious reason: software is expensive. Seriously.
Say you want a photo editing program. I’m not talking filters on instragram, I’m talking a REAL editing program. Like Photoshop. Now, I love Photoshop. Unfortunately, I don’t have the $$$ to put it on my computer. I use it at work, though, because better them than me. So let me introduce you to GIMP. GNU Image Manipulation Program, meet the blog readers. Blog readers, say hello to GIMP. It is the open source software alternative to expensive, high quality photo editing software. With GIMP, you can paint and draw, retouch photos, convert image formats, and add other plugins to do basically whatever you can think of. And here’s the best part—it’s free. That’s right, free. It isn’t the prettiest thing you’ll ever see, but it’s clean, functional, and super powerful. And it comes with an incredible amount of help and support. It’s awesome. Download it and check it out because you have literally nothing to lose.
Another gottahave program is an office suite. If you have the money to spend on Microsoft, go right ahead. Or….you can try something like Apache OpenOffice. It is hands-down one of the best FREE software suites I’ve come across. It has a word processor, a spreadsheet generator, you can make presentation slide shows, and create databases. Best of all, it is compatible with most other commercial office programs. That means you can use it to create documents and send them to other people, and they can open them on whatever they’re using. Sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? It’s not. Go look at the link and see for yourself. I’ll wait.
Those are just two examples of open source software saving you an incredible amount of money. Wikipedia estimates that it saves people over $60 billion a year. Why not have some of that money be yours? There’s lots more software out there. Just do a web search for whatever type of program you’re looking for along with the words “open source software” and you’ll be amazed at what you can find.
My other bigselling point to open source software is that it is based on collaboration. In other words, if you run a program and there is something you think you can improve, you can. If it doesn’t do something you want it to, if you have the time and the talent, you can make it do what you are looking for. You aren’t limited to emailing tech support, waiting for them to offer up lame work arounds and then have them tell you that maybe your idea will be incorporated in a future update. You can personalize it to, say, your company’s needs and then distribute it out to all your employees. By having many people look at guts of the program, you gain the perspective of many different programmers who each bring their own skills to the table. It’d be impossible as a company to hire that many people. But they can look at it and improve on your idea, making programs better and more widely appealing.
But don’t just take my word for it. Look around on the internet and see what you can find.