Advantages and disadvantages of free software

From the practical perspective of users, there are several advantages and disadvantages of free software. In fact, what makes it so attractive is its economic cost, although often free is not synonymous with quality, so below you will discover the most important aspects of these programs.

What is free software?

Free Software is known as computer programs that allow users to freely customize and modify the source code of their programming, this under the explicit decision and authorization of their authors.

It should be noted that, although several benefits are free, or only cost what is equivalent to distribution. It is not about free software being free, but about free restrictions by copyright and that can be improved according to the tastes of the users. In this way, these programs should not be confused with the so-called Freeware, nor should they be attributed a claim in favor of plagiarism or piracy.

The term was first used by the American Richard Stallman, who founded the Free Software Foundation. Here, several computer experts met who wanted to develop a completely free operating system, called GNU, which would allow users to contribute to its development and improvement in an economic way.

Over the years, this movement was part of the digital and computer culture of the world, with relevant social and political commitments. For example, the best known free software is Linux, a system that is proposed as an alternative to Windows.

Advantages of free software

There are many advantages of free software, since these programs are designed to satisfy all the needs of users. Some of the most relevant are:

  • Accessible: just by using a computer you can have full access to the software.
  • Promotes technological growth: it adapts to any hardware, since the source code is independent. Likewise, it allows its development in groups that work together.
  • Innovative: once you have greater access, there will also be an increase in collaborative technological innovation.
  • Fewer errors: if you have the collaboration of other users and programmers, you will be able to correct errors at an essential speed.
  • Independent: the user has the opportunity to adapt the software to his preference as well as to create his own functions.
  • Low Cost: by having a community that supports the development, the software ends up being an economical option, ultimately impacting the user.
  • Eliminate borders: Due to the great collaboration, this software encourages support with different private companies for the design of a better product.
  • Security and privacy: with having the source code you can be sure that your information will be safe. In addition, it is much easier to obtain and adapts to any need.

Disadvantages of free software

Just as free software has several advantages, some negative aspects can also be observed, such as:

  • Variety of versions: being free, anyone can create the same version, which generates confusion for the user.
  • There is no definition of guarantee: as the software is free, it practically belongs to the community. Therefore, there is no one responsible or a link with the company.
  • It requires technical knowledge: although at present it is a bit simpler and more practical, previously, to use free software, users had to have advanced computer and programming knowledge.
  • Quality control is provided by the community: this can be considered a double-edged sword, because if the community is not active and does not know programming, it will be difficult to solve the errors.
  • Low advertising budget: being inexpensive: free software is characterized by having poor advertising, unlike private software that has a well-established budget.

In general, several advantages and disadvantages of free software can be distinguished, which will depend a lot on the needs of the users and the possibilities that are conferred on them. If you have a low budget and want to modify a program to your preference, this is a very good option.