Is FOSS free?

The popular myth surrounding Free/Open Source Software is that it is always "free" - that is, "free of charge". To a certain degree this is true. No true FOSS application charges a licensing fee for usage. Most FOSS distributions (Red Hat, SuSE, Debian, etc.) can be obtained at no charge off the Internet. On a licensing cost basis, FOSS applications are almost always cheaper than proprietary software. However, licensing costs are not the only costs of a software package or infrastructure. It is also necessary to consider personnel costs, hardware requirements, opportunity costs and training costs. Often referred to as the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO), these costs give the clearest picture of the savings from using FOSS.


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