Dear Amy: What is open-source software? — Michael, Gainesville, Fla.
Dear Michael: Open-source software is becoming very popular, because people can download and distribute it for free. If you’ve ever used the Mozilla Firefox web browser or a computer running a Linux-based operating system, then you’ve used open-source software. In addition to being free of charge, open-source software follows other rules defined by the Open Source Initiative, opensource.org/docs/osd. For example, open-source software must include source code, and users may modify the code.
There are even open-source software titles made just for kids! Tux4Kids, tux4kids.alioth.debian.org, has two games, TuxMath and TuxTyping, and a fun paint program called TuxPaint. Qimo, an operating system for kids, is based on the open-source Unbuntu Linux operating system. To learn more about Qimo, visit qimo4kids.com.
Although open-source software is free to download and use, it still costs money to host and maintain a software project. If you really like using open-source software, consider making a donation to help keep your favorite applications available to everyone.
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