[kwlug-disc] Open Source intro handout (Raul Suarez)

Jason Locklin locklin.jason at gmail.com
Thu Apr 30 10:45:17 EDT 2009

I'm wondering if the draft you presented assumes too much knowledge of 
what "Proprietary" software is? I would include a brief but clear 
disambiguation between commercial Proprietary software, 
freeware/shareware, and Free/Opensource software. Many people equate 
freeware with free software when freeware is often proprietary. Below 
is a quick example:

Proprietary software is most often thought of as commercial software 
packages like Microsoft Windows or Adobe Photoshop, but also includes 
"freeware" or "shareware." Proprietary software means the producer has 
complete control over it's use; in cases like Microsoft and Adobe, 
that control is used to sell copies (and discourage free 
distribution). In the case of "freeware" or "shareware", the control 
is often used for other purposes, such as hiding malicious functions, 
or restricting it's usefulness until you purchase the "deluxe" 

OpenSource software, on the other hand, means the developers have 
essentially "signed off" most restrictions on it's use. Sharing is 
encouraged and users often contribute back by providing technical 
assistance, translations, new features or word of mouth advertising.

I agree that the distinction between OpenSource and Free Software is 
to subtle for this type of introduction, but many people get software 
for $Free in one way or another. It should be clear that OpenSource is 
a special case, very distinct from freeware or pirated software.
Jason Locklin, B.Sc. Hons.
University of Waterloo

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