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Why Open Source Software / Free Software (OSS/FS, FLOSS, or FOSS)? Look at the Numbers!

By David A. Wheeler

Revised as of May 9, 2005
This paper provides quantitative data that, in many cases, using open source software / free software (abbreviated as OSS/FS, FLOSS, or FOSS) is a reasonable or even superior approach to using their proprietary competition according to various measures. This paper’s goal is to show that you should consider using OSS/FS when acquiring software. This paper examines market share, reliability, performance, scalability, security, and total cost of ownership. It also has sections on non-quantitative issues, unnecessary fears, OSS/FS on the desktop, usage reports, governments and OSS/FS, other sites providing related information, and ends with some conclusions. An appendix gives more background information about OSS/FS. You can view this paper at (HTML format). Palm PDA users may wish to use Plucker to view this. A short briefing based on this paper is also available in PDF and Impress formats (for the latter, use Impress). Old archived copies and a list of changes are also available. READ MORE HERE

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