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Part 3 — Do we need Free Software? — What is possible now?

20130410 (2013 April 10 Wednesday)

What is possible now

Free Software is growing fast. It is the fastest growing software sector, Microsoft’s have stated that it is there only real competitor.

Free Software is everywhere, you already use it:

  • A netcraft graph, showing what web-server software is used on the internet.Free Software web servers are running most of the Web. This graph shows that Apache (Free Software) is the most popular web server since 1995, before that NCSA (Free Software) was the most popular. nginx (Free Software) is growing in share, it may overtake Microsoft (proprietary) soon. In some of Netcraft’s graphs it already has.
  • Most of the infrastructure on the internet is running Gnu/Linux or BSD, both Free Software operating systems.
  • Most of the e-mail transport and Domain Name look-up is done on Free Software.
  • Google, WordPress, Wikipedia and others run on Linux and other Free Software. Even Hotmail (a Microsoft web mail server) runs partly on Linux.

Most of the top 500 super computers use free softwareScientists use Linux: Of the 500 fastest computers in the world 457 run Linux (Free Software), 1 BSD (Free Software), 1 Open Solaris (Free Software), 11 mixed Linux (Free Software) plus other, 28 run AIX Unix, 1 runs CellOS Unix and 1 runs Microsoft-Windows. That is 459 Free Software, 11 mixed, 30 Proprietary.

It is not just for geeks; The geeks saw the need first, but then others started joining in.

Chances are your web browser is Free Software
Chances are you are already using Free Software. Firefox and Crome account for about 50% and rising of browser use. They are Free Software. IE the default of Microsoft windows has under 50% and falling. OpenOffice.org, VLC, Audacity, Gimp, Inkscape, Filezilla, X-chat, PeaZip, Juice, Mplayer, Thunderbird, Miro, Pidgin, Transmission, zenmap, wireshark, Kdiff, mono, python, sub-version, VirtualBox(gpl version) to name a few, are all Free Software.

Screen-shot of KDE a windowing system used on Gnu/Linux
Free Software on the desktop. The Free Software desktop is as easy to use, or easier than Microsoft-Windows and Mac. It looks very similar, the change is like going from Windows XP to Windows 7, only better. Free Software had 3D desktop effects before Microsoft-Windows.

The Free Software that is produced not only is free, but is also low cost; You can usually download it for no charge, or get it for a few pounds (Free as in freedom, not as in free of charge). It also tends to be of higher quality than non-Free Software (as the motivation of the developers is to produce software not to make money, and because anyone can fix it).

Debian Gnu/Linux comes on 6 DVDs, though you only need one CD no get the core system. It includes pretty much all the software you will need. Equivalent to Microsoft Windows 7 Professional, plus Microsoft office, plus Microsoft Visual studio Professional, plus Microsoft Server, plus, plus, plus … . No Licenses to worry about. Just one single install for the base system, then just click to add applications.

List of organizations:

  • Free Software foundation
  • freedomdefined
  • Free art
  • Internet Engineering Task Force
  • Open Knowledge
  • Open Source
  • Free/Libre Knowledge

See a list of all my blog posts on Free Software

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