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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.
The 2004 report of the California Performance Review, a report from the state of California, urges that “the state should more extensively consider use of open source software”, and specifically references this paper.
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.
You may also be interested in the discussion group for quantitative numbers about free / libre / open source software.
As noted above, the goal of this paper is to convince you to consider using FLOSS when you’re looking for software, using quantitive measures.
Old archived copies and a list of changes are also available.
Open Source Software / Free Software (aka OSS/FS), also described as Free/Libre and Open Source Software (FLOSS), has risen to great prominence.
I should note that while I find much to like about FLOSS, I’m not a rabid advocate; I use both proprietary and FLOSS products myself.
Vendors of proprietary products often work hard to find numbers to support their claims; this page provides a useful antidote of hard figures to aid in comparing proprietary products to FLOSS.
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.
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