How does FOSS differ from proprietary software?

  • The main difference between FOSS and proprietary software resides in the license under which it is made available. FOSS is developed in an open manner in which the end users of the software are able to participate. They may participate by answering the questions of other end users. They can also contribute to the documentation of the software and its use.
  • Since the users of FOSS have access to the source code, they can modify their local copies and make changes that they would like to implement. The FOSS license under which they received the code permits them to make such modifications. But in the case of proprietary softwares the users do not have access to the source code ans hence they cannot make any changes in the code.
  • The original FOSS software as well as the modifies one can be passed on to others freely. As long as the terms of the FOSS license are met, users can do whatever they like to do with this software. Since FOSS software has this redistribution freedom, it tends to be distributed at minimal or no cost. But this is not possible with proprietary softwares.
  • Since access to source code is access to knowledge, The uers of FOSS can acquire good programming knowledge too.


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