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Note that this paper’s goal is not to show that all FLOSS is better than all proprietary software.Certainly, there are many who believe this is true from ethical, moral, or social grounds.However, no numbers could prove the broad claim that FLOSS is always “better” (indeed you cannot reasonably use the term “better” until you determine what you mean by it).Instead, I’ll simply compare commonly-used FLOSS software with commonly-used proprietary software, to show that at least in certain situations and by certain measures, some FLOSS software is at least as good or better than its proprietary competition.This paper been referenced by many other works, too. The following subsections describe the paper’s scope, challenges in creating it, the paper’s terminology, and the bigger picture.
I’ll emphasize the operating system (OS) known as GNU/Linux (which many abbreviate as “Linux”), the Apache web server, the Mozilla Firefox web browser, and the Open office suite, since these are some of the most visible FLOSS projects.
Of course, some FLOSS software is technically poor, just as some proprietary software is technically poor.
And remember -- even very good software may not fit your specific needs.
It’s true that FLOSS users have fundamental control and flexibility advantages, since they can modify and maintain their own software to their liking.
And some countries perceive advantages to not being dependent on a sole-source company based in another country.
Those who find this paper interesting may also be interested in the other documents available on David A. A short presentation (briefing) based on this paper is also available.