Open Source Software

Open source software is great for students because it is usually free. What started out as primarily a developers tool has now become mainstream product for many. So much so that even companies like Microsoft and Google are adapting their software to be at least partially open source. So what does open source mean?

Basically it means you don’t need to buy a licence to own it and its being developed while it is being used. While this may sound a bit scary it really isn’t. It’s actually quite a good thing because usually the product is a completely functional program but the constant feedback and development means that it doesn’t become obsolete or outdated and any problems are consistently addressed by a large group of contributors.

Open source software is available for pretty much every type of program a student might need including email, word processing, desktop publishing and all the other usual (and unusual) software types. The other really neat thing about open source is that users can have input into the development of the program. Students who use limited memory net books and laptops are really well served by these programs because they can be run on virtually no memory.

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