…And Where FOSS Wins

December 18, 2013

Continued from Part 1.

The best system depends entirely on the needs of the user. Increasingly, the same software that the average user needs is becoming a reality on every OS. For development, there is an unparalleled amount of support and resources on Linux, even if you use it to develop for another platform like Windows.

Many users do everything, or almost everything, online. Chrome, Spotify, Netflix…everything is streamed and in the cloud. Google Drive, while still not as powerful as Microsoft Office, is incredibly easy to use and takes the worry out of saving and accessing files. Windows, Linux, and OSX are all fine for these things.

Speaking of Chrome and Spotify, both programs are built with open-source components. Chromium is the browser Chrome is based on, all open-source.

This is great. But what about gaming, which is Linux’s biggest weak spot? Thanks to SteamOS and Valve’s porting of Source to Linux, it has popular games like Team Fortress 2 and Left 4 Dead. But there remains a distinct discrepancy compared to Windows.

OSX is a nice compromise because it runs a lot of proprietary software that users want/need/expect, yet has many Linux-y features like bash, all the standard GNU programs, and a BSD backbone. Yet, it doesn’t have a real package manager. It is closed-source. There is no perfect operating system, but they all have advantages and disadvantages.

FOSS wins on the web, it wins on mobile, and it can win on software. It’s an important movement, one that increases competition, making both open and proprietary software better. Everyone should support open-source software and use it, and even try to contribute to it. Because of open-source software, Apple isn’t free to dominate the smartphone market. Because of open-source software, Internet Explorer has superior competition. So I support open-source software, even though I don’t always choose it over proprietary software. And that’s the beauty of open. The power to make a choice.


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