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:: Open Source

Because Open Source software isn't normally installed with most users' PCs, there are often many questions about what Open Source is, how it works, and of course: Is it really free?

Here are a few FAQs about Open Source which help to clarify what Open Source is:

How does it work that its free?

Because open source software is developed collaboratively by developers from all around the world, no one individual owns a given package. Hundreds, if not thousands of individual contributions make up a typical software package and the condition on which most people contribute to these projects is that their efforts are included and distributed freely as part of the package.

It is often asked why someone might give so freely of their time and knowledge to contribute to the development of an open source software package. Firstly, many developers actually use their own software, so they are in a sense, 'scratching an itch'. Providing a solution to a problem they themselves have encountered. Some do it for pride. Being involved in a high profile project such as the Linux kernel, or the Apache web server lends a certain amount of cache to a programming career. Some people are actually paid to develop as part of an open source software project. Large companies like IBM and Novell have a vested interest in contributing elements to open source software which they in turn use and sell.