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Debate to defend the use of Open Source Software (OSS) against

Propriety Software (PS) in an Educational Environment

It is said that the power of advertising is what made a baker to buy bread from another
bakery. We can not afford that in an education environment when so many governments
have marketised education and yet they also believe education can provide equitable
distribution of income in the days when there is a wide cry on societal inequalities. In this
paper, I argue that education institutions should not buy unnecessary proprietary software
when there is a freely available version of the same software in open source. Jean
Michael dale and Nicholas Jullien’s paper entitled OPEN-SOFTWARE ( Linux, Open
work bench) vs. PROPRIETARY SOFTWARE ( windows, ms office) informs my
argument.

Open source is defined as computer software for which the source code and certain rights
are provided freely under a software license that meets open source definition or public
domain while proprietary software is computer software which is the legal property of
one party and the rights of usage are made available to the public through a priced
license. (Wikipedia, 2009).

The fact that proprietary software is a legal property brings the following disadvantages
to education institutions: the software is not free, used through a license, has exclusive
legal rights, user subjugating, closed software, rights of copying or modifying are
protected by laws.

Advantages of using open source software Disadvantages of Proprietary software

1. Free Redistribution - No restrictions on 1. No Free Redistribution – pay for License


giving away the software 2. Source Code is sold or unavailable.
2. Available Source Code – To allow upgrade 3. Modification is not allowed and pirating
and debugging. is prosecutable by law.
3. Derived works - Allowed modifications 4. Integrity is not guaranteed.
and derived works, 5. The License discriminate people
4. Integrity of The author's Source Code 6. The license restricts use of program in a
5. No discrimination against Persons or specific field e.g. home or professional.
Groups 7. License forbids disclosure and secondary
6. No discrimination Against Fields of agreements.
Endeavor 8. Licenses forecloses class of license
7. Open distribution of License 9. License places restrictions on other
8. License is nor product specific software
9. License does not restrict other Software 10. License is predicated on style of
10. License is technology-neutral interface
11. Have less bugs – OSS sometimes defeats 11. There are many bugs even from
PS when kernel developers are organized. competitors
12. There is inter individual solidarity 12. There is a monopolistic competition

Armstrong Simelane 29307679 / IBE 880 1


References
Dalle, J.-M. & Jullien N. (2001) Open- Source vs. Proprietary Software: ESSID Cargese
Summer School.

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (2009). Retrieved March, 08, 2009.from


"http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open Source Definition.htm"

Armstrong Simelane 29307679 / IBE 880 2