Ask the Expert

Practical approach to OS vs. proprietary

Why should users, once educated about free software, go along with proprietary software since it's not portable, etc? Why should users cede their right to free/open/portable software to proprietary companies?

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Open source is all about choice, but sometimes we don't have as many practical choices as we'd like. The truth is that some open source software can be an excellent option now (especially software related to infrastructure), while other open source projects are just not ready for production use. It's best not to force a fit, but to wait until open source replacements are ready. Sometimes, users are just biased and will go along with proprietary softare providers even if open source would work for them. In that case, a little more gentle encouragement from people like yourself might help.

This was first published in January 2006

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