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DE SOUZA Ralin, Panjim says,
Why Fuss about FOSS?
By Ralin De Souza
360° VIEW
Panjim, Dec. 14. We talk so much about FOSS today. The Salesian communicators are not exempt from it...atleast with most part of the Salesian world propagating it. BOSCOM has just concluded a National FOSS Conference (14 Dec). But where is it taking us? Is it worth all the FUSS?

There is a movement against proprietary software, and in a way it`s good to pin down the single controllers who take maximum benefit of the economic factor. There is development of software taking place when there are some bigwigs who don`t mind investing and making money. To a certain extent the expertise and intelligence behind going to make a program needs to be paid. But the greed of individuals has no limit, and so a lot of ethical questions crop in.
To come to the point, the rising upgrades of  Microsoft that force you to go in for new versions, and the increasing costs makes the functional use of the computer much more difficult and unaffordable. In an advancing world, the access to new media tools should have actually been easier and affordable considering the fact that the number of users are increasing exponentially day by day. If the cost have been maintained the same and in many cases increased further is proof enough that economic  benefits are focused to select few. No wonder the movement against proprietary software, moving towards Free/open source software (FOSS) has gained momentum in the last couple of years.
The Salesian Communication departments and those involved in the sector have been stressing on the use of FOSS more frequently in our setups. Many individuals, groups, institutes, companies and even Governments are switching over to FOSS. Each have their own objective: economic, ethical, control, etc. The FOSS professional claim the expert benefit of sharing the source code, thus giving the individual user the creative benefit of customizing the software to maximum benefit. But are all computer literate to customize everything to our use? At the same time, is it fair to just resort to just one company, and spend enormous amount of money for only 10% of the functions that we`ll use in all probability?
Let`s not push away one package or choose another just for the heck of it. It only shows our ignorance. At the same time it`s pointless to jump into a system of usage just because someone says it so! It proves our stupidity. What is more important is educating in the use of computers and knowing that Microsoft or Adobe or any proprietary software is not the sole solution. We need to make computer illiterate realize, that there are various options, and very often the one we are forced upon by business benefits we don`t even use 5% of what it is capable. For those who are conscientious, this attitude should make us feel guilty. Let alone the crimes of piracy! It`s like hoarding my house with enormous riches and not being able to use even 5% of what I have.
For those who are at the initial stage, or who have very specific tasks of type-setting, Text editing, presentations, and web browsing, FOSS has enormous and certainly much better options available, even more than the standard proprietary software we`ve heard about. At times many of us who have computers, technically use them for just text editing, web browsing or presentation. And unfortunately, due to our ignorance, we just like to have a lot of programs and many sophisticated without even knowing how to use them. Many of such applications could technically be used in the office. For practical purposes, at a much lower cost, FOSS could solve our daily needs, whether for personal or office use. And so when we invest in computers for daily and office use, FOSS could solve the problem. We would of course face difficulties if we use for professional use for offset or printing, while printing on our home printers would create no problems.
It`s a matter or thinking differently. Let`s not FUSS about FOSS too much! FOSS is still growing. Let`s not undermine it. But let`s get computer literate as a personal choice, if we make the choice to spend a huge amount in buying a PC for personal or office use!
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