Posted by: Anonymous Coward
on November 22, 2006 04:09 PM
They save lots of money on the price of software. Some people don't have an option of spending hundreds or thousands of dollars on software so in that case they either risk their security and data by using pirate software or they can legally and safely use FOSS.
They can help with the testing of new releases, report bugs, and make feature suggestions even if they cannot program. In the world of FOSS, if you come up with a good idea the programmers didn't think of and you let them know it is often implemented shortly after- I've had this happen personally many, many times. This NEVER happens with commercial software unless maybe you're the head of the IT dept of one of the biggest customers of whatever software vendor, maybe.
Somebody mentioned portability of data, which of course is very important and possible with both proprietary and FOSS software, but with FOSS the apps are portable over different computer architectures too. Look- the PS3 has just been released with a CPU which is orders of magnitude faster than anything else available. Wouldn't it be great to take advantage of that? Can you run Premiere or Avid on the PS3? No, because it isn't FOSS- you've just got to hope that Adobe or whoever really owns the software decides to port their secret code. Can you run Cinelerra or Kino- yes you can!
When you're running non-FOSS software, if the company who produced the app goes under without releasing the code and then you find bugs in the mean time, you're stuck with a buggy app that you can do nothing about except look elsewhere. If people use it then orphaned FOSS apps get adopted and improved by someone else.