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Is free software better quality than closed software? Show more Show less

There is no singular way to define the quality of a software; there are many ways to define it. It could be defined by user satisfaction, the efficiency of the code, or the software's technological impact. With this in mind, how does free software compare to closed software?

Yes, free software is better quality than closed software Show more Show less

Free software is better
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Free software is a fundamental freedom in the technology community

Free software is better in terms of its quality and preferred over closed software due to its ethics. It grants users the freedom to access the source code and personalize it. It also ends up creating a better and more secure product.
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Context

The Argument

A common misconception that people have regarding free software is that it is free. Although, this might be true in many cases that is not the primary reason behind the name. Free software is similar to free speech, not free beer. It is regarded as a fundamental software freedom. This freedom gives its users the right to run, copy, distribute, and edit the code. [1] It essentially allows them to control what the code does for them rather than let the code and the developer control the user. In terms of its usefulness, free software is much more innovative and secure compared to closed software. Free software becomes a social responsibility when more and more people download it and work to make the code efficient. They start personalizing it to meet their own needs and in the process, end up creating new and more innovative products. Also, loopholes and bugs are often noted and fixed when a larger community is given explicit access to the code. Since the source code is accessible to the public, people are able to study the software and discern all of its intents and capabilities. As a result, most free software is a lot more secure that non-free (proprietary) software. Given its ethical and economic benefits, free software is definitely better quality compared to closed software.

Counter arguments

Closed software is generally higher in quality compared to open software. This is because companies tend to spend enormous amounts of money and time developing these pieces of code. They can easily spend more than 5 years and a couple of million dollars to see such a product come to light. It is only fair to such companies to protect the source code and not permit the wider community to peak into their work. Another huge disadvantage with free software is that the user has the permission to later sell the code. Imagine being a company that has spent millions creating something only to later have it sold by someone else who stole their idea; this is exactly what free software might end up enabling.

Framing

Premises

Rejecting the premises

Proponents

Further Reading

References

  1. https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-sw.en.html#:~:text=%E2%80%9CFree%20software%E2%80%9D%20means%20software%20that,matter%20of%20liberty%2C%20not%20price.source.html
This page was last edited on Thursday, 2 Jul 2020 at 04:29 UTC