Of course there are both PROS and CONS of free/open source software. Even expensive commercial software has problems so freeware is bound to have its own disadvantages.
All the consumer can do in any case, is weigh up the pros and cons for themselves and then make an informed choice.
Using Free Software – THE CONS
Using free software is free so of course there are cons.
Lack Of Support And Documentation
Unfortunately most free or open source software is provided without support. This means that if you have a problem with the software the developer might or might not feel like helping you with that problem. (I say might because some people do help their users even though there is no financial benefit.)
So if you’re one of those people that need regular technical support then free software is not for you.
There is always the users manual or software documentation to read and help with your problem, but unfortunately with free software, there is no guarantee that either even exist.
Developer Loses Interest
Some awesome geeks come up with fantastic software but they often lose interest or simply have no time to update or develop the software further.
As free software is a labour of love, paid jobs often take precedence over freebies. Also developing software is a big job and perfecting is an even bigger job. New developers get overwhelmed when users test their software and give their honest feedback and suggestions.
When the software is freely available, often developers will use advertising banners placed in the software which can possibly make money.
Not All Free Software is Safe
When buying software you expect the software the work well and not interfere with your computer system, however free software has no guarantees.
There are precautions to take before downloading free software which should be strictly followed as computer security issues and errors can cost you money.
User Interface Is Ugly
Most developers that provide open source or free software don’t waste time on the user interface. That means that the software might not look too fancy, in fact it will be plain and simple. This is not a terrible CON for free software, but sometimes a pleasant and well set out user interface can make the software easier to use.
Using Free Software – THE PROS
The Cost of Free Software
What could be better than paying nothing for a piece of software that you actually find useful and works well? You can find awesome software out there but you just have to do your research before jumping in.
Free software I will recommend:
• Open Office
• Microsoft Security Essentials, Avast Free, Avg
• Microsoft Live Email
• Windows Live Photo Gallery
• Mozilla Firefox
Just As Good As Paid Versions
Yes this is true. When using free or open source software you’ll find some software is just as good as the paid versions. For example you can buy Microsoft Office for about $200 or use the free open source program called open office.
Open Source – Open To The World
If free software is open source, then it is open to the world of all developers to scrutinize and add updated code to. This can have a distinct advantage as the software bugs are picked up and ironed out by many talented coders, not just one or two.
Open source software is developed with compatibility in mind and therefore can make a great replacement for otherwise expensive software. For example, when your Microsoft office program trial runs out, why not try Open Office, as it will still open your old MS office files.
Will I use open source or free software after reading these pros and cons? Yes of course!
I have my favourites that I feel great about recommending as some of this free software has been updated thousands of times and downloaded by millions.